December 4, 2008
ON TO THE FINAL
U.S. U-20 women top Germany 1-0
COQUIMBO, Chile – Sydney Leroux scored the only goal of the game as the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team booked a place in the championship game of the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup with a hard-fought 1-0 semifinal victory over Germany Thursday night.
The lone goal of the game came in the 21st minute when Nikki Washington got around two defenders and sent a low driven ball across the top of the six yard box that Leroux met on a full sprint, sliding to get a foot on the ball and knock it into the lower right corner.
The goal was the fifth of the tournament for Leroux, putting her atop the leader board for the Golden Boot, awarded to the tournament’s top scorer. U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher earned her fourth shutout performance in five games of the tournament, while extending their scoreless streak to 360 minutes..
In the championship game, the USA will face North Korea, which defeated France, 2-1, in the other semifinal on goal in second half stoppage. The USA and North Korea square off on Sunday, Dec. 7 at Estadio Municipal de la Florida in Santiago, Chile. Kickoff time 6:30 p.m. local time (4:30 p.m. ET).
The match will mark the USA’s first appearance in the final of the FIFA Under-20 tournament since winning the championship in 2002 when it was held as an Under-19 event.
Leroux came close to adding a second goal in the 30th minute when she got behind the German defense in the 30th minute and tried to chip the German ‘keeper, but the ball went wide of Alisa Vetterlien’s goal. She just missed in the 56th minute, sending a header just past thepost.
Germany never stopped pushing for an equalizer and its best chance of the night came in second half stoppage time. After two consecutive corners, Bianca Schmidt got forward at the top of the penalty area and with a lot of room in front of her, smacked a hard shot. It skipped low towards the left corner and nearly slid under Naeher, but the U.S. ‘keeper, as she has done all tournament, secured the ball and ended Germany’s hopes for a place in the final.
The USA-North Korea clash is a rematch of the 2008 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup Final held three weeks ago in New Zealand. At that tournament, the USA also defeated Germany in the semifinals but fell to North Korea in overtime in the championship game.
The victory gave the U.S. Women’s National Team programs its ninth berth in the final of a FIFA world women’s world championship, by far the most of any country in the world.