The United States U-17 women have failed to advance from the group stage at the World Cup in Azerbaijan after a wild sequence of events on Saturday, the final day of Group B play. North Korea, France and the U.S. all finished the group with five points, but the United States bowed out due to an inferior goal differential.
North Korea and the U.S. tied 1-1 on Saturday, with both goals coming in the opening five minutes. France needed to win by seven or more goals against Gambia to guarantee a trip to the quarterfinals and three goals in the final 10 minutes of the match gave France a 10-2 victory in a simultaneously played match.
The United States, with a +6 goal differential, is eliminated. France finished with a +8 goal differential after beating Gambia by eight and North Korea finished with a +11 goal differential.
If you haven’t put two and two together, the United States, France and North Korea all tied each other and each team trounced the young Gambians, by six, eight and 11, respectively.
It’s unfortunate to see a World Cup come down to that, but it is reality for the United States. (Gambia, by the way, goes home have conceded a World Cup record 27 goals in three games.)
That leads to utter heartbreak for the U.S., which will collectively feel like it did enough to advance to the knockout stage. Unfortunately for the Americans, not piling it on against Gambia is what cost them.
It is no consolation, but the U.S. U-17s did not even qualify for the 2010 U-17 Women’s World Cup after a slip-up in qualifying (an entirely different group of young ladies, but still a point of reference).
The disappointment for the U-17 women comes just three weeks after the U-20 U.S. women won the World Cup in Japan and less than two months after the U.S. senior team won the gold medal at the London Olympics.
The U.S. women are a strong bunch, as captain Morgan Andrews pointed out in her two most recent blogs (Part 1 and Part 2), but this one will sting. Most of this group will go on and compete at the U-20 level and will face the added pressure two years from now of defending that U-20 Women’s World Cup title. Keep an eye out for the likes of Andrews, Summer Green, Jane Campbell an others at the senior national team level in a few years time.
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