Here comes another interesting womens U20 World Cup. The third we follow close and the first writing a little bit about. But in fact it was the 2012 one that was one of the main events that brought us back to have a closer look at the womens game. Though the possibilities would also have been very limited before. We had a very early look in womens football already back deep in the last century. But followed the womens game only as far as the few TV-broadcastings allowed for. The quality of the WC 2011 was one other key moments. But the top players always showed a decent level at World Cups. The high level throughout of a U20 however could make you confident that the level has risen a lot all around and not only at the very top.
However the 2012 U20 WC also was probably a little bit of an exception. The lineup of the final included:
For team USA:
Julie Johnston, Morgan Brian, Kealia Ohai, Crystal Dunn, Sam Mewis(subbed in)
DiBenardo, Stengel, Killion and more for those used to the NWSL
Leonie Maier, Dzenifer Maroszan, Melanie Leupolz, Lena Lotzen, Kathy Hendrich, Luisa Wensing, Lina Magull, Laura Benkarth, Jenifer Cramer
Petzelberger, Simon, Chojnowski and more for those who are used to the Bundesliga
That is an extraordinary number of players who later went on to play for the senior squad. You can on average expect 2 getting solid starters later and 1-2 occasional call ups per 2 years for the senior team. So no wonder the top teams were exceptional at this occasion.
It wasnt quite the same level in 2014 regarding the top class players. Asisat Oshoala, Griedge MBockBathy and Claire Lavogez got the MVP awards from FIFA. But they have still2 more years to have similar impacts on the game like those names from 2012.
And what should we expect 2016?
We picked our favourites of the U17 womens World Cup here. With the U20s we are a little bit more cautious. Usually we would rule out every time favourites Germany. But you never should rule out Germany though they would need even a lot more things luckily coming their way to get even close to former success. Lately well placed Nigeria are the other team you expect to do well by a look at the closer history. But they also got some battering at the hands of Japan already. You saw that African teams improved from the first games in the U17 event however where Ghana also got a heavy beating from Japan in the first match inly to reach the semis later on. But still. The gap seemed immense here.
Japan have won the U17 two years ago against Spain. So they are expected to be good. Korea DPR nobody knows too much about but should also be in the mix in u-events. USA, Canada, Brazil you also never know too much because there are very few possibilities to make comparisons.
From the European teams we would see Spain as finalists of the U17 two years ago and this years U19 European championship finalists. A few impressions from the epic rain battle here. But mainly France as the biggest favourite. Sweden won last years U19 EC mainly because of the superior athleticism of Stina Blackstenius (with Tove Almqvist also good in the finals). That advantage gets much smaller within a year and it will not be easy for Sweden to stay ahead of their European rivals.
Team USA do have Mallory Pugh and that should win them the tournament when they use her the best possible way. But you probably shouldnt expect that to happen. It is such a rare constellation that there is one player so outstanding that the coaches have no experience how to do that and the players also arent used to it. So it shouldnt take you wonder if quite to the contrary her capabilities are more kind of absorbed and thus showing up rarely. An interesting aspect to follow.
We have seen the levels getting more and more even in these tournaments lately. So that having (or choosing to have) the right easy path in the ko-stages to go deep helps a lot. Or vice versa everyone can have a slightly bad day and then the opposition is often good enough to win when you are on a difficult route where every opponent is dangerous. With the USA difficult to rate this would be our favourite ranking but of course we also would be happy to see some others. If Brazil could finally get some successful youngsters or South Korea?
France – Japan – USA – Spain – DPR.
But with France you know what they do at senior level. Or what their coaches achieved to do with top quality individuals. However not all coaches in France can be able to have such bad results from top teams as those chosen to be responsible for the womens national team lately. We dont know however how to rate the 3rd place for France at the last U20. With amongst others Claire Lavogez, Kadidiatou Diani or Griedge Mbock Bathy it should probably also have been more but at least 3rd was much better than the seniors?
France are amongst those who have no players from the U17. Missing Marie-Antoinette Katoto is a big disadvantage. Japan, Spain, Germany all have also no U17s. Germany also doesnt use Pauline Bremer who was already their key player at the last U20 WC and would still be in the age to participate. Also Dayna Castellanos, the girl with the hammer shot from the U17 is not here. But we will see Sanchez for the USA and a few others.
France on top of the EC team has some players who have already capped for the senior team and are already more than regular starters for some top teams in their D1 league. Karchaoui was a regular starter at the Olympics. Perle Morroni had a promising debut last season with her club PSG but unfortunately seems to be injured. Infos difficult to get in France.
We will follow proceedings here.