U-20 W/Cup: Netherlands makes history, champions N.Korea falters

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It was a mixed bag of results on the first day of match play at the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in France.

For some it was a historical first; while for others it was a day to forget.

Dutch historians

The Netherlands edged New Zealand 2-1 in the opening match of Group A at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018, thanks to Eva van Deursen’s winning strike in the 78th minute.

History was made by the Oranje in the 28th minute when Fenna Kalma scored the nation’s first-ever goal in a FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Kalma gave the Dutch a deserved lead with a simple tap-in from Denisa Pelova’s low cross.

New Zealand then found an equaliser right before half-time, thanks to a superb left-footed strike from Hannah Blake.

While the Dutch may have looked the slightly stronger side in the first half, the second half was more balanced, with both sides struggling to create scoring opportunities in the afternoon heat.

The Dutch finally found the breakthrough goal in the 78th minute when van Deursen scored with a well-placed shot into the far bottom corner after some neat build-up play from Caitlin Dijkstra and Kalma.

Van Deursen’s strike proved to be enough on the day, bringing the Dutch all three points in their first-ever U-20 Women’s World Cup match.

Korean misery

Alessia Russo scored twice to lead England past reigning champions Korea DPR 3-1 in their opening Group B match at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 in Dinan-Lehon on Sunday afternoon.

In sunny and hot conditions at the Stade du Clos Gastel, the first half saw the Young Lionesses make the breakthrough just after the half-hour mark, as Russo took a pass from Lauren Hemp before side-stepping left-back An Kuk-Hyang in the Korea DPR box and driving a low shot past goalkeeper Kim Yong-Sun.

England were a threat going forward at every opportunity, and they underlined their potency with a second goal from Georgia Stanway on the hour mark, as she struck home a fortuitous first-time finish from the edge of the Korea DPR box.

The holders then pulled a goal back through a close-range header from substitute Ja Un-Yong on 71 minutes, but Russo completed a fine day’s work with her second goal of France 2018, as she converted Hemp’s fine cross from the left for a deserved England victory.