North Korea wins U17 World Cup shoot-out; Infantino puts changing attitudes on the spot

October 24 – FIFA president Gianni Infantino says more needs to be done to develop women’s football in regions where female players are often prevented from taking up the sport.

Infantino was speaking after North Korea claimed their second women’s under-17 World Cup title in eight years with a 5-4 penalty shootout win over favourites and defending champions Japan after a goalless draw in Jordan, the climax of the first international women’s tournament to be held in the Middle East.

“That’s why it was important to have this U-17 World Cup here,” said Infantino. “The resounding success of this World Cup shows that women’s football is not only confined to some parts of the world, but it’s really worldwide,” he said.

“More needs to be done. Girls have to come out, have to play, the parents have to bring them to play football, and I think the future will show that we were right in coming here.”

Tournament CEO Samar Nassar said she hoped the event would encourage more local participation in a region where women have long faced a struggle to watch football in the stands, let alone play the game.

“We wanted to leave a legacy and I think we’ve taken a big step forward,” she said. “It was essential that we built the necessary infrastructure, including the stadiums and 14 training pitches, in order to be up to international standards. We have also trained a large number of people, equipping them for the highest level. These efforts will, without a shadow of a doubt, contribute towards the development of Jordanian football, while also benefiting the wider community.”

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