U17 2016 World Championships – Final review

1. Korea DPR – 2. Japan – 3. Spain – 4. Venezuela

The final day of an extraordinary championship is over. And so its time to look back. And to think about the future of the womens game.

But first to the finals:

3rd place:
Spain – Venezuela 4:0

Very surprising that Spain didnt change some regular starter players. They will have had their reasons to go away from the good tradition to use that and think of the development of the whole roster and give a few of those a reward and an opportunity to show their skills who havent had it earlier.
Using their complete team they were always in control and beat Venezuela quite comfortably. The most noteworthy was the hattrick from Navarro again to earn her the golden boot with 8 goals . We are certainly not on the site of the “who scores most is the best”-level spectators. However here you could see how a player has special skills that makes him a genuinely good scorer rather than having some lucky period or team mates who are good in presenting chances.

Japan – Korea DPR 4:5 a.pen.

The first half reminded us very strongly of the 1:0 victory of Korea at the Asian qualifiers where Japan also just wasnt able to score. But the picture changed a little bit after half time. However Japan did confirm that we expected too much from them. And we already didnt expect that much pointing out that Spain and Germany might have been the better sides who have only been beaten like Japan here on that single bad day. And quite as we talked about here it was again already the second difficult opponent that proofed to be too much. It wasnt only that power and the missing last ditch towards the opposite goal. That was already missing against the USA and Spain. It was also some unusual sloppy passing already in midfield that caused a lot of attacks to stop before they reached the dangerous areas.
But like Germany first after a hard fought group where they had a must win game in their last match to avoid elimination lost the next game against Spain. Spain lost against the second difficult opponent after they beat Germany then to Japan. And Japan after beating Spain then also couldnt win their next against Korea. Korea however on the easy bracket in the k.o. stage had “only” to beat Ghana and Venezuela to get into the final.

Not much to comment on the FIFA players of the tournament.
golden ball: Fuka Nagano (JPN); silver: Sung Hyang Sim (PRK); bronze: Deyna Castellanos (VEN);
already used to some strange selections over the years. The short list wasnt that bad at all. But it had Sung Hyang Sim (14) mixed up with a pic of Kim Jong Sim (11)
Nagano is really very skilful and technically gifted player and good to watch. We wanted to have one Japanese player in our team of the tournament. So we took her. Hopefully she can still step up a bit in the future. But she might have been amongst the 10 best players. The winner of the silver ball – not so sure. Dont know whether they mixed up the names. However it is interesting how people laud the Asian teams for their fluent passing team play but when it comes to good players often look for those who dont do that. She mostly preferred individual dribblings to combination play. And especially in the lucky win against Ghana (where Korea couldnt get through against the powerful opponents but were stubborn enough to take them on for duels instead of passing their way around) she lost lots of balls. Maybe also a reason why she didnt score very often. Hopefully the coaches who try to develop her are experts to recognise that.

Our teams of the tournament:

Team A:

Gwinn(GER) – Natalia(ESP) – Ri Kum Hyang(PKR) – Battle(ESP)
Laia(ESP) – Nagano(JAP) – Stanway(ENG) – Ri Hae Yon(PKR)
Castellanos(VEN) – Sanchez(USA)

Team B:

Ok Kum Ju(PKR)
– Kleinherne(GER) – Wubben-Moy(ENG) – Siems(GER)
Morena(VEN) – Hernandes(MEX) – Fernandes(ESP) – Miyazawa(JAP)
Owusu-Ansah(GHA) – Navarro(ESP)


Just having looked through the previous tournaments on youtube. Again the progress was very evident. However there is always kind of a two fold question. One is about the average level of the players helping to lift the future average level of the domestic leagues. And then there is the second one for the search of the top players who might continue to get to the senior national teams of their country.

For example Venezuela had a very different level of their outstanding player Deyna Castellanos who should probably already be an improvement for the senior national team. Whereas Japan or Korea DPR had very evenly poised teams as their main strengths. But lacked the outstanding players whom you would expect to be a safe bet to make it to the top. Really still some way to go for their best players. Giulia Gwinn will not play for Germany in the U20 WC. But she and Georgia Stanway are also quite close to the top already and there are players in their senior NTs who are worse. Remains Spain which was also a team with relatively even level players and not much outstanding. Thats maybe the most interesting bunch here for the near future as they are border line imho to all reach NT level. Can see a group of 7-8 being a main part of the NT in 5 years. But also see they nearly all could come just short. Nearly all need only a very little step. Seeing a lot being in Barcelona makes you confident they will be prepared with the necessary support. So now keep your fingers crossed they use it well. See you in two years for the U19 EC hopefully.

But there is another main aspect in the youth sector: the age. The top talents of the tournaments might have been others. Candidates Oberdorf, Laia, Navarro and Ri Kum Hyang are all with good chances to be the even more outstanding players at the next U17 WC. Bühl just misses out on that occasion by a few days.

And we might talk about what these players are still “learning” until they are full seniors. Not much. Neither technical skills. Nor “decision making”. Thats that already. Only fine tuning here. Always depending of course at what a level they have already intensified their training. Whoever comes from a 3 times a week training will also over time improve technical skills with a 6 times a week training. But because hardly any player comes from such a low training level we see the good level of play at this U17 WC today.
Its mainly about getting physically stronger (and there is the biggest shift possible because some have already finished growing and others will still get considerably stronger) and adapting and fine tuning their skills to top level football and learning to focus on the right play and the right solution.

Some things we havent mentioned here again. You might find more in our previous round summaries.


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