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Semifinals set in Montreal and Moncton
by Paul Kennedy, August 20th, 2014 12:24AM
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TAGS:  u.s. under-20 women’s national team

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[UNDER-20 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP] Montreal's Olympic Stadium (capacity: 66,000) and tiny Moncton Stadium (capacity: 8,500) are the odd pairing for Wednesday's semifinals at the Under-20 Women's World Cup. The France-Germany game in Montreal will be a rematch of the 2013 U-19 European semifinal, while the Nigeria-North Korea match will be the first between the two teams.

The France-Germany game will pit the tournament's two highest-scoring teams against each other. After beating the USA, 2-0, in its opener, Germany scored five goals in each of its next two games to average 3.5 goals per game, while France, the European champion, is averaging 3.0 goals per game.

Frenchwoman Claire Lavogez has three goals and three assists and is a leading candidate for the Golden Ball. Her goal -- a volley from outside the area that finished up a four-pass sequence -- against Costa Rica (highlights) is being touted as a candidate for the goal of the year. (Lavogez's reaction: "It's just that, when I do, they tend to be spectacular.")

Germany also features the tournament's top scorer in Sara Daebritz with five goals. Teammate Pauline Bremer has four goals and four assists.

The Nigeria-North Korea match will also pit African and Asian teams against each other in the U-20 women's semifinals for the first time, though it is the third time each team has advanced to the final four. Nigeria's Super Falconets won in 2010 but lost to the USA two years ago in Japan. North Korea won both its semifinals in 2006 and 2008.

Nigeria features Oklahoman Courtney Dike, sister of Toronto FC's Bright Dike. The Oklahoma State sophomore has played in all four games and set the U-20 Women's World Cup record for the fastest goal ever, striking 18 seconds into the match against Asian champion South Korea.


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