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World-under20a-14Between disappointments, surprises and half-respected predictions took place in Canada the first day of the quarterfinals of the world under 20, great showcase and forge of talents from the four corners of the globe.
We follow the order of play and start from North Korea-United States, which was also the game with the most uncertain outcome, although it was impossible not to tip the scales in favor of the Americans. In fact, in the beautiful setting of the National Soccer Stadium in Toronto, under a leaden sky and an insistent rain, in the first minutes there seems to be only one team in the field. The Korea collects without reacting, while Roccano and companions are compact but they expand well in the re-start, they span with precision, occupy the whole rectangle of play.

But it is from the bands that the most limpid threats come to the Korean door. At the first good ball that happens between the feet Pugh reaches the bottom line and leaves a low shot for Doniek, so good in following the action as lucky in the rebound on Yun Gyong. E'1-0 United States. An advantage, perhaps arrived too early, that he must have deluded the Americans of having a completely downhill road ahead of him. And when football is thought to have already won, it is the prelude of the shipwreck. In fact, the idyll does not last long. Not even half the time and here from one side of the coin, the best one, the US show the other, far more sinister. Already at the 18 'there is a first half shudder for Rowland on Su-Yon's free-kick: the left-hander on the turn of the Korean goes down to the last and touches the upper part of the crossbar. Then, for some clockwork, the rhythms are lowered and there are few points worthy of news. The Koreans would seem to be in no hurry, let alone the Americans. It is around half an hour that the Easterners put their foot on the accelerator, forcing the girls of Michelle French to suffer the first blackout: Amack risks to combine it big on a rejected Rowland, the loose ball remains in the middle of the area before that the US captain sweeps her away. On the other side, Purce, just a stone's throw from the door, does not arrive for a while on Lavelle's football, in what will be the swan song of a national that was not received by then. On the immediate change of face here is that by the revival of Kim Chol Ok the header of Yiang Sim fishing Ri A Sim. The number nine of Asiatic, hounded by Amack's fallback, tries the spoon that almost manages to beat Rowland. Instead, the attendant gets up, and breathes a sigh of relief when he sees the ball across the net. Meticulous, patient, laborious, as befits the typical Easterners, the North Koreans raise the center of gravity, allowing the full-backs to rise and forcing at the same time the attackers stratifying the fall. It is not uncommon to see Doniek running to help the defense. At the end of the first half we still try a Sim with a shot that however just tickles the glove of Rowland.
The French treatment in the dressing room does not seem to have had the desired effect, so that the Americans come back and are immediately crushed. Again, it is the same script of the first half. Horan is not able to pick up the team, and worsen a framework already narrow in itself there is also Rose Lavelle in the most naive of errors, in a red area such as the right out. For Kim Mi Yong it is a breeze to catch the ball and let go of a crossbar on which, after an empty Rowland exit, the usual A Sim. Right close, Naughton touches and the referee indicates the disk. We are at 53 '. It will not be the last penalty of the day marked by Kim So Yon, but for the moment it is enough to equalize the score on one.
Then, suddenly, a flash stars and stripes from the drowsiness of hibernation. Doniek remembers playing soccer, and often doing it very well. The blonde striker of coach French crosses a nice ball for the coming Pugh. Excellent coordination, nice impact, but the well-crisscross ball ends slightly high, as well as Horan's right a few minutes later. French confides in the classic shake off the bench and tries to shuffle the cards. At Summer 75 'enters Summer Green, which is said to be very good. The seventeen year old debut with a nice double step, but will not affect much on the game. Lavelle, meanwhile, throws another ball and risks big even with a horizontal passage a few minutes later, in total confusion.
Already at the end of the match the penalties seem inevitable, given the lack of propensity of the teams to risk. There is the classic arm on both sides and if the Americans are afraid of losing, the North Koreans are afraid of winning.
In extra time the minutes run under the banner of many cramps and few occasions, including an unrealistic attempt to spoon North Korean, and get to the penalty shootout.
Jordan, Horan and Lavelle get their shots far from irresistible by Kim Chol Ok, heroine of the day. The koreans on the other side are snipers, Rowland punches us only on the second penalty, but not enough. The Easterners are smiling, they are disadvantaged and have reached the semi-finals. Great disappointment at home United States: the girls come out of a world where they aimed, if not to win, at least to get to the semifinals. Instead they are thrown out of North Korea, tenacious and intelligent, well put in place. A team that knows what to do and how to do it, a surprise that every day that passes becomes more and more the appearance of a reality.

In Monteral, on the other hand, a match is played that seems on paper without a story. To face each other are the multi-champions of Germany, super credited for the final victory, and the landlords of Canada. If in international competitions there is a great truth, namely that the host country often on the wave of enthusiasm performs in unexpected performances, the other great axiom of football is that Germany, play well or play badly, lose a few times, and those few times do it against Italy.
Ready-way, it begins. Driven by supporters and the desire to do well are the Canadians to go first to the parties of Kaemper, albeit rather messy. Fletcher at a quarter of an hour, from considerable distance, glances at the Duisburg goalkeeper, sees her out of the posts, decides to try: let go of a right-hand fireball that crashes on the crossbar. At 23 'it's up to Germany to worry, and even a lot, Sheridan. Pauline Bremer, after collecting a head-end of Petermann with a half-foot offside, performs one of the things that do her best, that is to take the goalkeepers out for a walk. Steer on the right, fold to the left, it concludes coldly to the net despite a tangle of red shorts on the goal line. The blonde striker German, opening recovery, will then have the opportunity to mortgage the meeting by closing a good phrasing built by Panfil and Petermann, but will leave hypnotized by Sheridan, good to cover the mirror of the door.
In the second fraction Canada tries everything for everything. He pours forward, pulled by a tireless Beckie, who serves at the 61 'Sanderson the best of assists, but the number 19 of coach Olivieri from the edge of the area does not take advantage and kick weakly, not even centering the door.
Ashley Lorenz tries, but Gidion does not miss a shot. With Knaak, in the middle of the defense, there is an agreement that is rarely seen, including major teams. Kaemper is providential a few minutes later in an exit on the feet of Emma Fletcher, to emphasize that Germany, back there, is a real fort, and that the five goals conceded with China were a mere accident on the way. On the other side also the Quinn gets along well, and for the second time is immolated on a shot of the omnipresent Petermann (not coincidentally elected player of the match) that would permanently erase the residual chances of the landlord. The wait-and-see attitude of his goes to coach Meinert. And so out Magull, still deprived of ninety minutes in the legs, and inside Dallmann to give further strength in attack, with Daebritz who moves back into the control room, in the sector that he prefers. Something is moving, Germany suffers less, also accomplices the cramps and fatigue of the Canadians. Ten minutes from the end the Bremer, masterfully assisted by the usual Daebritz, sins of selfishness and fires at the goalkeeper despite Petermann sbracciando from within the area. Not bad, because from the corner that follows Rebecca Knaak intercepts the brush left-handed Daebritz and signs the two to zero. Pierre-Louis and Agnew have two clamorous balls on their feet to reopen it, but one ends off, the other shoots high.
We once again saw a discontinuous Germany, victim of occasional distractions and often not cynical enough. But it is always about Germany, and even two steps away from the final he does what he does best: win. And if Canada still comes out head-on, covered by the applause of 23.000 spectators, the same can not be said of the neighbors of the US, accustomed to other results in competitions such as these. North Korea advanced, with the road practically leveled towards the final, and Germany, expected in all probability in the most central European battles: the derby with the French. We will see some beautiful ones.

Alessandra Esperide

Walter Pettinati
Author: Walter PettinatiWebsite: www.pettinati.comEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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