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2018 FIFA U17 Women's World Cup Uruguay ( Nov13-Dec 1 )

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Good to see u17 coverage on sportsnet. Molinaro was also puzzled with Huitema playing out wide.

Wilkinson deployed a 4-3-3 formation on Wednesday, using Huitema out wide on both flanks in the first half. It seemed an odd tactic to play Canada’s best goal-scorer out on the wing, rather than up top and closer to goal. As such, Huitema was pretty quiet in the first 45 minutes, only getting her first clean look on goal late in the half when she curled a shot from outside the box just wide of the post.

But Wilkinson made a change in the second half, playing Huitema more centrally as the focal point of Canada’s attack. Teammates had an easier time picking out Huitema.

https://www.sportsnet.ca/soccer/u-17-world-cup-takeaways-huitema-comes-canada/

 

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I've only seen the FIFA highlight video, but it looked to be a closer affair than the final score indicated.  Still, we put it in the net and Costa Rica didn't.  In the end, that's all that counts.  Just ask Mexico, that blew chance after chance to end up 0-0 even though dominating play.

It's been a long time since I was that age, but I'm guessing that the players aren't the hardened pros that many expect them to be.  Emotions and momentum figure highly in performance.  Wilkinson is right to not put too much emphasis on opening play, and to try to grow the players into confident performances.  We're not going to learn much from nervous play.

P.S.  Holy crap!  I just noticed that France is not in the competition.  How did they fall behind Finland?  Is the women's game losing steam?

Edited by rkomar

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2 hours ago, rkomar said:

P.S.  Holy crap!  I just noticed that France is not in the competition.  How did they fall behind Finland?  Is the women's game losing steam?

Losing on goal differential is not  what I call falling behind. 

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I had in my mind that France was a U17 powerhouse, but I must have been mostly remembering their 2012 win.  I guess they didn't fall as far as I thought.

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On 11/14/2018 at 7:10 PM, Symp_Res said:

Wasn't pretty by any means, but they got the job done.  Need to clean up their passes.  Way too many turn overs.

Midfielder Lara Kazandjian was terrible in the first half always giving the ball away, I see she is a bundle of energy and hopefully improves in next game.

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Having watched all of the games that have been televised so far Spain looks like the team to beat.

The Canadian team did very well after a shaky start to win 3-0.

Going forward we have the weapons to get out of the group it is the back line that needs to be a lot more decisive and solid.

A tie against Spain would be a fantastic result the other game has to be a win.

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Random thoughts...

U17 women's soccer has a high degree of random because of the level of naivety. Very, very few of the players ever play senior.

An Oceania team beat and knocked out both UEFA and CONMEBOL representatives. Could be a first.

Mexico beat Brazil to make their group interesting. If they tie Japan in the last group game, Brazil are packing their bags. That would mean all three CONMEBOL reps out.

The German 4-1 win over North Korea is quite the upset. There is no way to ratify a North Korean's age and they are always quite formidable. They've been in three finals and a bronze in five tournaments, and the Germans have never been in a final. The North Koreans out-shot the Germans 16-7 and carried 60% of the play, but real footballers are more about mentality than age.

Similarly the Ghana roster say's half U15 or younger, but the reality is another story. Recording of age in some African countries is a fluid thing. There is a bone-fusion wrist scan which is used for men, however there is no test for women. When the tests were first used at the men's youth level, Nigeria and Ghana were among those affected most in terms of eligibility. There have been a couple of studies done on Ghana and the wrist MRI, one say's their skeletal development may be different than everyone else, the other came to the conclusion that many Ghanaian's simply do not know their correct date of birth.

Our game is to go through or go home.

Almost all the South Korean players club team is a high school or middle school.

All but one of our players are in nationally funded training programs. In almost every other country the players play for club teams, with the countries investments in women's soccer being in creating leagues (for young players to play in) as opposed to training players.

The closest to the Canadian approach is probably North Korea, where a large number of the players play on the same club team and train together year-round as well.

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Canada leading Korea 1-0 on a goal by Huitema in the 59th.  Game was fairly even in the first half but Canada has started to assert their dominance.  But Huitema has just received a very harsh red card on a 50 50 ball.  Can you be Concacafed in a World Cup game?

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First of all, it was a ridiculous red card.

They played a very poor first half.  Defensively they were good, but they had no control of the game and barely got into the Korean half let alone having any attack on the Korean net.

Second half...night and day.  They came out with a lot of passion and energy, and even when down to 10 players, the play was controlled by the Canadians.

At the end of the day, it was a hard fought win and they're through to the 1/4's.  Hopefully they continue to get better.

Good job girls!!

 

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51 minutes ago, toontownman said:

Does Huitema just miss the next game or next two? 

Or can it be overturned?

Typically, it's a one game suspension so she will need to sit the game against Spain. She'll be eligible for the quarters.

Edited by Symp_Res
grammer

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Wow, Group C is completely wide open.  All teams (USA, Germany, Korea DPR, Cameroon) have one win and one loss.  The knock-out round has come early for this group.  USA plays Germany next, so one of them is likely out after that.  Maybe if the two games are tied...

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3 hours ago, Symp_Res said:

First of all, it was a ridiculous red card.

They played a very poor first half.  Defensively they were good, but they had no control of the game and barely got into the Korean half let alone having any attack on the Korean net.

Second half...night and day.  They came out with a lot of passion and energy, and even when down to 10 players, the play was controlled by the Canadians.

At the end of the day, it was a hard fought win and they're through to the 1/4's.  Hopefully they continue to get better.

Good job girls!!

 

Agree the 2nd half was  huge improvement and we controlled the match well even down to 10, that Red was real harsh, I thought they were getting a girl sent off, the elbow looked very inadvertent and a result of 2 Korean girls going recklessly into the challenge, the ref had a card out, not sure if it was changed to a Red with the Korean girl bleeding from the knock!

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10 minutes ago, gator said:

Agree the 2nd half was  huge improvement and we controlled the match well even down to 10, that Red was real harsh, I thought they were getting a girl sent off, the elbow looked very inadvertent and a result of 2 Korean girls going recklessly into the challenge, the ref had a card out, not sure if it was changed to a Red with the Korean girl bleeding from the knock!

Not sure what the ref was thinking.  She had produced one yellow card up until that point. There were a lot of strong challenges, but nothing diserving of any cards.  What I saw from the Colombia game was much more malicious.

I think she saw the blood and decided it was red card worthy.  Fortunately, the Baby Reds are through to the 1/4s and it shouldn't matter much if Huitema is playing or not.

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Good result. First goal was a gift but the second was a thing of beauty.

Fortunate result in the other game in the group too.

Spain may have tied Colombia 1-1 but man they write the book on midfielders. They have some truly wonderfully skilled players who are a real treat to watch.

Colombia parked the bus well today.

With the results in the crossover group of death, I'm not sure coming first or second matters much.

Either way the QF opponent will be a monster, and because of the deadlock everyone in the crossover group has to run their best 11 for a third game in a row. So one option for us would be to rest our best 11 and take that match fitness edge into the QF. It would also give all the players we took to Uruguay an opportunity to show their mettle.

Over things for sure, playtime is over and everyone from here on is Grade A. They all have a high level of skill, fitness, experience, tactical awareness and good coaching.

Very fortunate to already be through and have the peace of mind that goes with that and not have to stress for the next few days.

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Watched Spain and though they are a good side and dominated, they had problems with Colombia, or maybe they failed to score when needed. So after seeing Canada get a win vs. Colombia that was maybe not altogether deserved, I accept they were a fairly good rival.

So maybe Canada and Spain are not that far off. Spain does have strong positional play and we will have to accept not having the ball, as is par.

The way Group C is, with no clear idea of who might qualify and in what order, Canada can relax or make changes vs. Spain, it will matter little what happens. Further, although technically if we beat them they could be out of quarters with a Colombia win, it is unlikely, as they first criteria for breaking ties is goal difference, and the spread is now +7 for Spain. So Spain is also virtually through and in a similar situation as us, as long as they keep it close they won't  have to care too much about the next game.

 

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5 minutes ago, Vic said:

...With the results in the crossover group of death, I'm not sure coming first or second matters much.

Either way the QF opponent will be a monster, and because of the deadlock everyone in the crossover group has to run their best 11 for a third game in a row...

That is certainly something that Canadian National teams don't get to contemplate at this stage of most international tournaments.  Its a nice problem to have for a change!!

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Another match where past Canadian teams would have blown it or got out with only a tie. Maybe Wilkinson's stronger mental strength and character has been transposed somewhat to the players.

Like the first match, the first half saw nothing really being done by Canada. Only good thing is that no goals were allowed. Again good subs were made and second half was played as we expected them to. Backline and goalkeeping have looked good. There is no one in midfield that can control the match consistently. Huitema has scored when needed but she's been underserviced and she doesn't know yet how to take control of the match herself.

Red card was a stupid decision by the ref - nobody on Korea was screaming for it, coach in background remained expressionless, Huitema was being held and no way Huitema saw the player coming from behind.

Compared to Canada, Spain is way more comfortable with the ball, pass beautifully and have a number of players who can easily take on players on the dribble. But like Canada, they didn't really know how to open up Colombia. Hard to tell how good their backline and goalkeeping is since it hasn't been really tested. Spain will dominate Canada in possession while Canada will need to score on counters or set pieces.

It doesn't matter much if we finish second or first as we'll face a tough match from Group C. But I think Canada matches up better against Germany & the US. Cameroon is a very rough and frustrating team to play against while North Korea is up there with Span in terms of being the most easy on the eye. Even with the loss against Germany, NK dominated possession and shots. Against US, they showed a nice mix of long ball attacks, over lapping runs and scored all their goals on corner kicks.

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1 hour ago, Vic said:

Either way the QF opponent will be a monster, and because of the deadlock everyone in the crossover group has to run their best 11 for a third game in a row. So one option for us would be to rest our best 11 and take that match fitness edge into the QF. It would also give all the players we took to Uruguay an opportunity to show their mettle.

That's an interesting suggestion.  I would be a bit worried that that would interrupt the team building going on within the first side.  Our players don't seem to be bursting with confidence at the start of games. A hard game against Spain could be good practice for the following game.

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5 hours ago, Symp_Res said:

Not sure what the ref was thinking.  She had produced one yellow card up until that point. There were a lot of strong challenges, but nothing diserving of any cards.  What I saw from the Colombia game was much more malicious.

I think she saw the blood and decided it was red card worthy.  Fortunately, the Baby Reds are through to the 1/4s and it shouldn't matter much if Huitema is playing or not.

When a referee lets so much rough play go unsanctioned or reprimanded it becomes an exaggeration all of sudden to issue a severe sanction such as a direct red card.  That inconsistency is a common problem with inexperienced referees specially in highly contested matches.

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In the Spain/Colombia game the referee put the whistle in her pocket and there were 3-4 Colombians who defined the phrase "persistent fouling".

How many female referees are there in the world who can capably handle a world cup?  Not just run around the field and get most of the calls right. I don't think that's a very big number.

There is a push to up that number and that's a very good thing. However, putting crews in place at World Cup's who are not capable is a bit insulting to the players.  In terms of gender equality, try putting those officials on the field at a U17 men's tournament and see how well that is received. 

Albeit at a lower level but the Canadian tournament last week was another example of the same. To work that hard and for that long and to have to have your success determined by someone not at the standard of play... it may be the Canadian sweetspot of politically correct and gender-positive, but again it's not right. At the top of competition players want to be officiated by the best there is and officials capable of the level of play. They don't care about politics.

I think maybe it's all being rushed along and we need another decade of growing the caliber of female officials; without having to degrade the game and burden the players at the highest levels.

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15 hours ago, rkomar said:

That's an interesting suggestion.  I would be a bit worried that that would interrupt the team building going on within the first side.  Our players don't seem to be bursting with confidence at the start of games. A hard game against Spain could be good practice for the following game.

Yeah it's definitely a double-sided coin.

I think the Spain game is pretty unwinnable. They're just a much better team all over the field. It's not the best team they've ever sent but they're the UEFA champions and have been in the final game for the last five European championships. They were also bronze in the last World Cup and silver the one before. We've never gone past the start of the knockout stage.

We get success at the chaotic youth level by a comparatively high level of fitness, organization and investment, much like we did early on in the women's game at the senior level. But in the long run against a world of countries with better economics, climate and culture it's unfortunately a losing battle. Our men won Olympic gold in 1904. They're just 100 years ahead of the women.

Against Spain:

Best case scenario, they take most of the possession, score once or twice and we score once or twice on the counter.

Likely scenario, they take most of the possession, score a couple times and we don't get anything on the counter.

Worst case scenario, they take an embarrassing edge in possession and score 4-5 times.

Best case is probably a 10-20%, worst about the same and the likely is at least 50%.  And that's with our best 11.

If things go well, you're not more fully recovered than your opponent, but you ride the uplifting wave into the quarters.

If things go south, you're still not better recovered than your opponent, and you have to wear that result going into a QF. Which could do one of two things, it could be a dose of reality and wake everyone up to full engagement in the quarter, or it could drop a sense of disbelief and a funk on.

If the QF opponent and all the remaining teams you will face were around the same level of play it would also a different decision than when all the opponents you will face will be markedly superior.

Tournament play, always no shortage of options.

Edited by Vic

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