Japan captures first championship with six-game sweep

[UNDER-17 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP] Japan became the third different Asian team in four tournaments to win the Under-17 Women's World Cup thanks to a 2-0 triumph over Spain in Friday night's final at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica. The tournament was a victory for Asako Takemoto Takakura, the first woman to coach a Japanese national team, and the local Ticos, who set a tournament attendance record.

Japan, which also beat Spain 2-0 in the opening match of the tournament, won on goals by Meika Nishida after five minutes and sub Fuka Kono 12 minutes from time. The Japanese won their six games by a margin of 23-1.

Captain Hina Sugita won the adidas Golden Ball as the tournament's MVP, while teammate Yui Hasegawa was second in the voting and Spaniard Pilar Garrote was third.

North Korea won in 2008 and South Korea won in 2010, while France is the only non-Asian champion, having beaten North Korea in 2012.

Venezuela, the tournament surprise, played Italy to a 4-4 tie in the third-place game, then failed to convert a penalty kick in the shootout and lost, 2-0. Vinotinto forwards Gabriela Garcia and Deyna Castellanos, 14, were the tournament's top scorers with six goals apiece.

The matches at Costa Rica 2014 averaged 8,403, surpassing the previous Under-17 Women's World Cup mark set at Azerbaijan 2012.
2 comments about "Japan captures first championship with six-game sweep".
  1. David Crowther, April 6, 2014 at 7:04 p.m.

    Fujita and Hasegawa were the standout midfielders in this cup, just as Castellanos & Garcia were the standout forwards. It's always risky projecting how star U17 players will do once they fully mature, but I would be surprised if aren't hearing about all four of these players for years to come.

  2. David Crowther, April 6, 2014 at 7:17 p.m.

    Other players to watch out for in the future include Spain's Garrote twins and Real Sociedad forward Nahikari Garcia, Italy playmaker Manuela Giugliano, Mexican winger Janea Gonzalez, Canadian winger Marie Levasseur, and even Costa Rica's 14 year old midfield dynamo Graciela Villalobos (who may have as much or more raw natural talent than anybody else on view).

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