The fifth edition of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup is currently on going in Jordan. The first edition of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup was won by North Korea in 2008. This tournament is slated for girls below the age of 17 years. The uniqueness of this the 2016 edition is that, this was the first tournament where an MRI scan was used to determine qualified players to participate in the competition. The FIFA U17 world Cup since its inception is played every two years. In the history of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup no nations have won it twice. North Korea won the first edition in 2008, South Korea won the 2010 edition, France won the 2012 tournament and the defending champions who won the 2014 edition is Japan. With FIFA’s 6 participating confederations, only nations from two confederations have won the FIFA U17 World Cup that is Asia Football Confederation (AFC) and UEFA (Europe).
Jordan got the hosting rights after a competitive tendering process with South Africa, Republic of Ireland, and Bahrain all seeking the hosting rights. Asia presented three countries including the hosted nations Jordan, Japan and North Korea. The qualifications procedure for African countries is the African U17 women’s championships where Africa will present three countries; in Jordan 2016 Africa presented Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria. Oceania football confederations presented only New Zealand to Jordan 2016 through the Oceania U17 Women’s championships. South America (CONMEBOL) presented Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela through the CONMEBOL U17 Women’s Championship. The Americans (CONCACAF) presented Canada, Mexico and USA.
The Jordan 2016 U17 FIFA World Cup is being hosted in 3 cities with 4 venues that is Amman, Zarqq and Irbid. The stadiums being used are Amman International Stadium 20,000 capacity, King Abdullah II stadium 18,000 capacity, Al-Hassan stadium 15,000 capacity and Prince Mohammed Stadium. The 16 countries are divided in four groups that is group A to group D. The two qualified countries from each country proceeds to the knockout stages.
1. Mexico 10 points
2. Spain 9 points
3. New Zealand 5 points
4. Jordan 0 points
The entire tournament kicked off with group A. And this was how the group A matches went;
30 September: Mexico 5-0 New Zealand.
30 September: Jordan 0-6 Spain.
3 October: Spain 2-0 New Zealand.
3 October: Jordan 1-4 Mexico
7 October: New Zealand 5-0 Jordan.
7 October: Spain 1-1 Mexico
At the end of the group A, Mexico and Spain qualified to the quarter finals stages.
1. Germany 7 points
2. Venezuela 6 points
3. Canada 4 points
4. Cameroon 0 points
The group started very strong intercontinental matches. This is the results of all matches in group B:
30 September: Venezuela 1-2 Germany.
30 September: Cameroon 2-3 Canada.
3 October: Venezuela 2-1 Cameroon.
3 October: Germany 1-1 Canada.
7 October: Canada 0-2 Venezuela
7 October: Germany 2-0 Cameroon.
After group B actions, Germany and Venezuela qualified to the quarter finals with Cameroon and Canada being eliminated.
1. North Korea 7 points
2. England 5 points
3. Brazil 3 points
4. Nigeria 1 point
Group C was the group of death with all the countries having the width of winning the tournament. This was how the round robin games resulted to;
1 October: Nigeria 0-1 Brazil
1 October: England 3-3 North Korea.
4 October: Nigeria 0-0 England.
4 October: Brazil 0-1 North Korea
8 October: North Korea 3-0 Nigeria.
8 October: Brazil 1-2 England.
After the strong group C fixtures, North Korea and England sailed through to the quarter finals with Brazil and Nigeria exiting.
1. Japan 9 points
2. Ghana 6 points
3. USA 3 points
4. Paraguay 0 points
This group had a lot of interesting and mouth watery encounters which resulted in surprises. Here is the results for group D;
1 October: Ghana 0-5 Japan
1 October: USA 6-1 Paraguay
4 October: Paraguay 0-5 Japan
4 October: USA 1-2 Ghana
8 October: Japan 3-2 USA
8 October: Paraguay 0-1 Ghana.
The mighty USA and new comers Paraguay exited the competition while Ghana and Japan the defending champions made it to the quarter finals.
After the group stages, there were 24 games played with 84 goals scored. The attendance after the group stage games was 78,265 people. The top scorer so far is Lorena Navaro (Spain) with 5 goals followed by Ri Hae-Yon (North Korea) with 4 goals.
The quarter final fixtures is determined by drawing the first place team in group A to the second place in group B and vice versa. In group C the first place country is drawn against the second place country in group D. If any game in the quarter finals ends in a draw, there will be penalty shootout to determine the country that will qualify to next stage.
Mexico v Venezuela
This will be the first time Mexico will play against Venezuela in the FIFA U17 Women’s world cup. With Mexico’s impressive form in Group A, Mexico is the highly tipped him country to qualify for the semifinals stage.
Germany v Spain
The Germany U17 female team and the Spanish U17 know each other very well in European U17 Women’s championship. This encounter means that we shall see a European country in the semifinals of the 2016 FIFA Women’s U17 world cup. Germany U17 female soccer team and the Spanish U17 female soccer team have met on 7 occasions with Germany winning 2, Spain winning 2 and 3 ending in a draw. In UEFA U17 championship both countries have met 6 times with Germany winning 1, drawing 3 and Spain winning 2. This is a typical European derby at a FIFA tournament. The game is difficult to predict but Germany has the upper hand considering the talent at their disposal and development in women’s football. The young Germany girls are likely to make it to the semifinals.
North Korea v Ghana
In the last 4 editions of the FIFA U17 Women’s world cup, Ghana and North Korea have met in two editions. Ghana and North Korea have met in two encounters with Ghana winning one and drawing one. In the first edition of the FIFA U17 Women’s Cup, Ghana and North Korea where in Group B where Ghana and North Korea played on 29 November 2008 the game ended in a draw. In 2014 edition which is the previous FIFA U17 tournament, Ghana and North Korea where in Group B once again. This time round they met on 15 March 2014 where Ghana defeated North Korea by two goals to nothing. From the statistics Ghana looks likely to win but in reality, North Korea is stronger than Ghana in this tournament in terms of performance in scoring. Ghana finds it difficult defending against the pace of Asian countries which was evident when Ghana played against Japan. North Korea is likely to make it to the semifinals.
Japan v England
The Japan U17 team and England U17 team have met only once in the FIFA U17 Women’s world cup. In the 2008 FIFA U17 Women’s world cup Japan and England met in the quarter finals where the game ended in a draw. Japan won the game on penalties by 5 goals to 4. The pace of Japan can threaten any defense in the tournament and with the pace and piercing passes, they can defeat any team. Once again Japan is the favorite to qualify ahead of England.
The winner of the Mexico and Venezuela game will meet the winner of the North Korea and Ghana game. Also the winner of the Germany and Spain game will meet the winner of Japan and England games. The FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup will end on 21 October.