— Ann Odong ⚽️📝 (@AnnOdong) November 29, 2016
North Korea scored early in extra time and held on to defeat the United States 2-1 on Tuesday to advance to the championship match of the U-20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea. The euphoria of a late U.S. strike that forced the match into extra time was quickly wiped away when the North Koreans scored in the opening minute of the additional period. They will face France in Saturday’s final. The U.S. will face Japan for third place.
After a scoreless opening half, the U.S. was left to chase the game following a handball call in the box against Katie Cousins. Jon So Yon stepped to the spot and had Casey Murphy guessing the wrong way to put North Korea on top. Facing the end of their tournament the U.S. found the equalizer in the 89th minute when a poor clearance allowed Natalie Jacobs to bury one and send the match beyond the regulation 90 minutes.
Extra time opened up in disastrous fashion for the United States. They had the first piece of attacking possession but after the offside flag went up, North Korea worked their way up the field and scored when Ri Hyang Sim beat Murphy. The goal came 48 seconds after the start of extra time.
“I said it all tournament, I couldn’t be more proud,” U.S. coach Michelle French told ussoccer.com. “Again you find a way to get the goal at the end. We never gave up, I think in the end, the 4 o’clock games that we had (in the heat) and the possession that Korea DPR had, it just started to add up and you could see our players start to fatigue a little bit. That’s 100 percent to be expected, so great game for Korea DPR and best of luck to them in the final.”
The loss marks the second straight U-20 World Cup in which North Korea has sent the United States out of contention. Two years ago in Canada their quarterfinal match was decided on penalties.
In Tuesday’s other semifinal, France pipped Japan 2-1 when Clara Mateo and Juliane Gathrat scored two minutes apart to break a scoreless tie in extra time. A Yuka Momiki penalty made for a tense final 11 minutes but the favored Japanese were unable to get another goal. France are into the final of the U-20 World Cup for the first time. North Korea, whose U-17 won that World Cup earlier this year, will be trying to become the first country to win both events in the same year.