USA U-20 WNT Ready to Take on the World at 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup
USA Under-20 Women’s National Team opens the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup on Monday, Aug. 6 against Asian champion Japan (1:30 p.m. ET).
The event marks a significant milestone in the team’s two-year cycle as the USA has compiled a 17-5-5 international record heading into tournament. The U-20s continue Group C play on Thursday, Aug. 9 when they face Paraguay, and close out the group stage on Monday, Aug. 13 against European champion Spain. The USA’s first two games will be played at Stade Guy-Piriou in Concarneau, while the final game is set for Stade du Clos Gastel in Dinan-Lehon. All of the tournament’s matches will be played in four small venues across the Brittany region in northwestern France. Here is the full FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup 2018 Match Schedule.
The USA earned its berth to the World Cup with a victory over Haiti in the semifinals of the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship last January. The win came in dramatic fashion, as Haiti scored a last-minute equaliser in regulation to send the match to a penalty kick shootout. Goalkeeper Amanda McGlynn shut down the Haitians with an incredible performance in the decisive penalty kick shootout and defender Zoe Morse hammered home the game-winning and World Cup-clinching PK.
Drawn into Group B, the USA opened the tournament with a 2-0 victory over Nicaragua as Torres and Civana Kuhlmann (who will unfortunately miss the U-20 WWC due to injury) found the back of the net. In the second group stage game, Jamaica tied the USA in the 88th minute, but the U-20s responded emphatically with a game-winning goal at the death from Howell. In the final group stage match, the USA downed Mexico 2-1 on goals from Kim and Sanchez. A rematch with Mexico awaited in the championship, where the USA fell in PKs following extra time. After suffering an early deficit, Davidson headed in a 49th-minute equalizer, but the USA wasn’t able to find a game-winning goal.
Since January’s World Cup qualifying campaign, the U-20s have come together often for training camps and games, and have put together some impressive results, compiling an 8-1-1 record. The USA went undefeated at two international tournaments in the lead-up to the World Cup, defeating Germany, Haiti and France to claim the Tournoi Maurice Revello Sud Ladies Cup in June and downing Sweden’s U-23 squad, England and Italy’s U-23s at April’s La Manga tournament. They’ve also contested sets of friendlies against France and Brazil in 2018, and have faced off against 13 international opponents entering the World Cup.
Head coach Jitka Klimkova has selected a superbly-talented 21-player roster for the World Cup. Seventeen players on the roster just wrapped up their freshman and sophomore years of college, while five come from youth clubs and will be freshmen in the fall. Those five players- defender Naomi Girma (California Thorns FC), midfielder Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado), midfielder Brianna Pinto (NTH Tophat), forward Sophia Smith (Real Colorado) and forward Penelope Hocking (So Cal Blues) – all spent 2017-18 competing in the inaugural season of the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy. Here’s all the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2018 squad lists.
This year marks the ninth edition of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. The biennial competition began as the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in 2002. Sixteen teams have qualified for the U-20 WWC through continental competitions and have been drawn into four groups. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the quarterfinals. From there, it’s a knockout round bracket to the tournament final.
France will also host next summer’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The senior event will be played in nine cities across the whole of France, including Rennes, Brittany’s capital.
The USA has qualified for every edition of the U-20 WWC and has won three of the eight previous tournaments, compiling a 30-6-8 overall record. At the inaugural FIFA U-19 Women’s Championship in 2002, the USA took home the title by defeating host Canada 1-0 with on a golden goal in overtime from Lindsay Tarpley in front of nearly 50,000 fans.
In 2008, future senior WNT stars Sydney Leroux and Alex Morgan helped lead the USA to the tournament title, scoring in the championship match against North Korea. Most recently, the U.S. won the 2012 tournament, downing three group winners in the knockout rounds en route to the trophy.
Heartbreakingly, the USA has been knocked out of the tournament in penalty kicks in 2006, 2010 and 2014. The U-20s have lost just five games in regulation in the previous eight tournaments, including three defeats to Germany. In addition to three tourney titles and three PK exits, the USA has finished third, in 2004, and fourth, in 2016.
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