Women’s FIFA win an enigma

MONTREAL – Germany defeated Nigeria 1-0 to win the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup at the Olympic Stadium last Sunday and after covering the U-20 Women’s World Cup here in Canada I think it is safe to say that the notion that the best teams always win is not quite accurate.

Germany defeated Nigeria 1-0
Germany defeated Nigeria 1-0

Germany U-20 Women was outplayed by Nigeria in the final match and still won the World Cup thanks to some excellent goalkeeping and team discipline while France defeated Korea DPR 3-2 for second and third place earlier in the evening.

It was an action-filled final with Germany’s Meike Kamper playing a major role. She was undoubtedly the best goalkeeper in the tournament and up for the task against tournament leading scorer Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria.

Kamper won the Golden Glove as the Best Goalkeeper of the tournament and finished with consecutive Player of the Match awards for her stellar play in both the semi-final and final. She neutralized France and Nigeria as two of the most potent offences in the tournament.

Nigeria had the better of the game in the championship final, both territorially and in the number of scoring chances. But it was Lena Petermann’s goal in the eighth-minute of extra time that gave Germany the U-20 Women’s title in spite of the team being outplayed.

Give Germany credit – they found a way to win. They defeated Canada 2-0 in the quarter-finals in Moncton and although they had to defend for long spells in the semi-final against France, the team stepped up their defensive effort against Nigeria’s high flying offense in the final.

Striker Oshoala entered the final having scored four goals in Nigeria’s 6-2 semi-final win over Korea DPR. But the Germans were also resilient after absorbing the pressure. They started the second half with positive energy and gave goalkeeper Chiichii some work in Nigeria’s net.

Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria Golden Boot winner
Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria
Golden Boot winner

Germany missed a few chances of their own but for all intent and purposes the U-20 Women’s final game was a contest between Nigeria’s offence and a German defense that bends but did not break.

In spite of their occasional counterattacks, Coach Maren Meinert’s defense had their hands full with Nigeria’s No. 4 striker Oshoala and second half substitute No. 10 Sunday. Oshoala was a constant threat but it was disappointing to watch her take Nigeria’s last two corner kicks due her teammate’s lack of clock awareness.

However, the play that broke Nigeria’s back was their goal that was called back with five minutes remaining. It occurred when one of Nigeria’s players touched the ball that was already entering the Germans’ net and was ruled offside.

It left the score at 0-0 heading into extra time forPetermann to score the winner in the first half of extra time. Nigeria was unable to respond as Germany saw out the remaining minutes to be crowned the 2014 U-20 Women’s champions of the world.

Oshoala won the Golden Boot with Pauline Bremer and Sara Daebritz of Germany second and third respectively. Oshoala also won the Adidas Golden Ball as the Tournament’s Best Player with the Silver going to Griedge Mbock Bathy and the Bronze to Claire Lavogez, both of France. Canada won the Fair Play Award.