August 16 – The Women’s U-20 World Cup has reached the business end of the competition with heavyweight quarter-finals set to decide the last four. Hosts France take on reigning champions Korea DPR, Spain meet Nigeria and Germany face Japan. Debutants the Netherlands play England in the last quarter-final.
The hosts will seek to avenge defeat in the 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cup final in Papua New Guinea against the Koreans. The reigning champions struggled in their group, losing their curtain raised 3-1 against England before sealing progress to the last eight with narrow wins against both Mexico and Brazil.
France, on the other hand, cruised through their group and boast the best defence together with Japan. In Thursday’s other quarter-final Spain, in fine form, take on Nigeria, who boast more experience on the global stage.
On Friday, England and debutants the Netherlands will have a shot at progressing to the last four for the first time. England have fallen short twice at this stage, in 2002 and 2008, and in Holland they face staunch opposition. The Dutch go into the tie brimming with confidence after getting out of a group with the hosts, Ghana and New Zealand.
Germany and Japan will lock horns again. The two teams have met twice before, twice in the knockout stage and, indeed, twice the Germans prevailed. Japan, however, boast the best defensive record together with France. The Asians have never finished higher than the third place in the competition. The tournament, staged in Brittany, will culminate with the final on August 24.
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