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You say hello, I say Ohai: U.S. wins U-20 Women’s World Cup

The United States U-20 women won their third World Cup title on Saturday in Tokyo with a 1-0 victory over Germany. Kealia Ohai scored in the lone tally of the match in the 44th minute.

Right back Crystal Dunn created space on the right flank and served a low ball into the box, which found Ohai for the strike just before halftime. The U.S. fended off German pressure throughout the match and enjoyed large stretches of possession thanks to a well-executed game plan from head coach Steve Swanson. Germany entered the match as favorites after beating the U.S. 3-0 in the group stage and had not given up a goal.

With the victory, the U.S. becomes the first team to reach three U-20 Women’s World Cup titles (also in 2008 and the inaugural 2002 tournament). Germany was the defending champion and had not allowed a goal in the 2012 tournament heading into the final. Germany was also seeking its third title after winning in 2004 and 2010.

The U.S. exposed German left back Annabel Jaeger throughout the evening. U.S. midfielder Maya Hayes used her pace and turned the corner on Jaeger several times throughout the match. An overlapping run from Dunn — which came on Jaeger’s side — led to the United States’ goal.

Germany fell just short on chances throughout the evening. Midfielder Melanie Leupolz put her 36th minute shot just over the bar from 25 yards out, narrowly missing out on giving the Germans a first half lead.

Defender Leonie Maier was active throughout the second half and capped off her contributions by hitting the crossbar from 25 yards out in the 72nd minute. Defender Jennifer Cramer blew Germany’s last good chance in the 86th minute when she flashed a shot from 5 yards out over the crossbar.

Germany looked out of sorts throughout the match, particularly on corner kicks. A lack of organization from Germany led to several U.S. chances from corner kicks.

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