[UNDER-17 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP] Like at the U-20 level earlier this summer, Germany is dominating the Under-17 Women's World Cup in Trinidad & Tobago with three wins by a margin of 22-1. The surprise heading into Thursday's quarterfinals is Ireland, which won its group in its first-ever appearance at a FIFA women's tournament. Here's a look at the matchups ...
NIGERIA-SOUTH KOREA. Nigeria won Group A with three wins. Loveth Ayila leads the Flamingoes with four goals in two games. The rising girls power in Asian soccer, South Korea needed a 4-1 win over Mexico to capture second place in Group B. The return of injured star Kim Da Hye gives the Koreans hope they can advance one more round than they did in 2008 when they fell to the USA, 4-2, in the quarterfinals.
GERMANY-NORTH KOREA. Germany won the U-20 women's title as host and is favored to capture the U-17 title but it must first get past defending champion North Korea in the quarterfinals. Kyra Malinowski scored three goals in the 9-0 win over Mexico in the opener and followed with four goals in a 10-1 victory over South Korea. Lena Petermann has five goals and Lena Lotzen has four.
IRELAND-JAPAN. The Irish recovered from a 2-1 loss to Brazil in their opening game to beat Canada, 1-0, and Ghana, 3-0, and win Group D ahead of Brazil on goal difference. In the Ghana game, Megan Campbell scored the opening goal on a shot from 40 yards. The nucleus of the team consists of 13 players representing 11 different Irish youth clubs. It also includes three Americans -- Zoe Boyd and Kerry Glynn from the Montclair (N.J.) Thunderbolts and Jillian Maloney from Roswell (Ga.) Santos -- though none has made an appearance in the tournament. The stylish Japanese are led by the frontline of Haruna Kawashima, Mai Kyokawa, Chika Kato and Yumi Yokoyama.
SPAIN-BRAZIL. Spain is a relative newcomer on the world stage, but it followed up on its 2010 European U-17 title with a sweep of its three first-round games. Paloma Lazaro of Rayo Vallecano leads the Rojitas with three goals. Brazil was one one of five teams from the Western Hemisphere to reach the final eight. A 2-0 win over Canada gave the Brazilians second place in Group D. Thais, Beatrize and goalie Daniele are all holdovers from the 2008 team that didn't win a game in New Zealand.