[UNDER-17 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP]The USA entered the Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan as one of the favorites with a 12-0-2 record in 2012, but it was lucky to escape Lankaran with a scoreless draw against France on Saturday in the Group B opener for both teams. The Bleuettes had a 23-3 edge in shots, as U.S. goalkeeper Jane Campbell made 12 saves to hold them off.
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The USA faces Gambia, a 11-0 loser to North Korea, on Tuesday, at Dalga Arena in Baku. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN3 (kickoff: 8 am ET).
"I think getting a point against one of the favorites is not a bad result," said U.S. coach Albertin Montoya. "I didn’t think we played well. It was our first game, and we were a bit nervous going into it. We played against a team that plays very well, that can make their way to the final. So we got a good results against them."
France, the 2011 European runner-up behind Spain, features midfielder Sandie Toletti, considered one of the best young players in the world, and it piled on the pressure in the second half.
It shut down U.S. star Summer Green, who had 12 goals and four assists in five qualifying games. She was called offside four times and booked for kicking the ball into the goal after the whistle had been blown on their fourth offside.
Montoya had to replace center back Mandy Freeman early in the game after she took a blow to the face in the 11th minute.
The 0-0 result was the same as when the USA and France met in 2008.
Sept. 22 in Lankaran
USA 0 France 0.
USA --Campbell; Basinger, Bauer, Freeman (Raben, 13), Miranda; Andrews, Sullivan, Payne; Purce (Bruder, 63), Green, Jenkins.
France --Bruneau; Mbock Bathy, Romanelli, Carage; Tounkara, Toletti, Karchouni, Gathrat (Gherbi, 90+3), Cascarino (Blanchard, 85), Declercq (Atamaniuk, 68), Diani.