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

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Winning is important, but I think the overriding goal is to see what we have, and figure out how to make it better.  These tournaments are really there for developing future senior players.  I'm not sure how that affects all the options you put forth.  Maybe it's best to play your best to give them the most time; maybe it's best to play the bench to see if some there are starting to develop more quickly.  Who knows?  In a way, this tournament is probably just as important for developing Wilkinson for more senior levels, so it will be interesting to see how she handles this, and if she is creative about it.

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4 hours ago, Vic said:

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.

Wow, even I think that is very pessimistic for Canada, and as you know I follow the Spain sides a bit, and know a few players. 

In both matches Spain has had problems, and I do not think Canada is worse than either team that matched Spain. So I think you have to go in with a game plan, defend hard, keep an eye on the bigger talents (Navarro, Pina), and go for the longer shot chances to pull out a result. Without going crazy about it. 

Just wanted to add, @Vic a few posts back I think it was you commenting how few players in this tourney have pro experience: most of Spain players do, some on top flight teams, others on the 2nd teams of top sides, more still in lower divisions in Spain. Where there are decent and growing European leagues, this is also the case, Germany, France, England, especially. 

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Perhaps pessimistic, perhaps realistic, or perhaps a combination or perhaps one is the other. I don't think we match up well to a team like Spain, although at the youth level no one else in Europe does either.

I think we can run with teams who are similar to us and rely on organization and fitness, for example we've had lots of results against the Americans at the youth level. Or against teams with lots of skill but not heavy on fitness and organization (like CONMEBOL reps). But start to get combinations of skill, fitness and organization and I don't think we're well versed to succeed.

We've played the Spanish women just once at senior and it was last year in the Algarve final and lost 1-0.  Herdman said Spain had only long shots and scored on one of them and that Canada had a dozen scoring chances and some really good ones and he played Huitema. But you need to run that through the CSA filter. Teams with a lead obviously play differently than when level or trailing. Spain also hit the woodwork.

Neither of our rankings has changed much since then. We were and are still 5th, they were 13th and are 12th now.

We've never met at the youth level.

I hope I'm wrong and we pull an upset, it would be a very positive result. Let's hope Spain is looking past us and ripe for the picking and disinterested and perhaps even resting players.

Could be wrong (and wouldn't be surprised) but I don't think it was me commenting on lack of pro experience. I had looked at most of the rosters and noticed and commented how almost all except us were on club teams.

I also noticed most of the Spanish were with T2 women's teams while most of the Germans were T1. I think there were at least a half dozen from Bayern alone.

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12 hours ago, Vic said:

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.

Very good Vic, I certainly agree.  Let me add that the problem emanates from the countries' federations.  Federations in their wisdom recommend their referees to FIFA and that is how referees get to be FIFA referees.  A big and wide jump in my view that in exceptional cases may qualify a referee to be really qualified as a FIFA official.  Then the only "preparation" is a course and some physical testing run by FIFA a few days before a world cup.  The same applies for assistant referees.  During the games there is a referee assessor and those evaluations determine who referees more games in the tournament.  A little bit of a backwards approach.  For the assessments there a strict guidelines that in most cases prevent the assessor to truly rate the official in question.

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Oddsmakers have spain at 1.5 to 1 and Canada at 6 to 1.

They also see Germany and North Korea coming out of the crossover.

Colombia are also 1.5 to 1 while South Korea are 5 to 1 underdogs.

Tie-breaking procedures

Who's In?

Canada, Ghana and New Zealand

Who's out?

Finland, South Korea and Uruguay

So do South Korea play the bench for experience and give Colombia a go at taking a run at Spain?  Seven goals seems pretty insurmountable even against South Korea's bench.

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On 11/16/2018 at 10:56 PM, Vic said:

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.

Japan 1-1 Mexico.

Bye-bye Brazil.  Bye-bye CONMEBOL. 

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Who's In? 

Ghana, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, Canada

Who's out?

Finland, South Korea, Uruguay, Brazil, South Africa

Who's left for the other three spots?

Two of Germany, North Korea, USA, Cameroon,
One of Spain, Colombia

What are the Quarters?

Ghana v. Mexico
New Zealand v. Japan
?? v. Canada
?? v. ??

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Canada would have likely lost anyway with their top line up. But with 3 of the backline sitting which has been the strength of the team, Vic's worst case scenario happened. Young, Portelance and Hanisch were too slow and timid. Hanisch especially seemed clueless about her positioning.

As defensive mid in the previous matches, Walk has been over her head and nothing changed today. The midfield didn't do much in the first two matches but were non-existent against Spain.

Canada looked clumsy, slow and dumb. Spain looked like the smart kid in the classroom making it look all too easy while Canada showed it was developmentally challenged.

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2 hours ago, red card said:

Canada would have likely lost anyway with their top line up. But with 3 of the backline sitting which has been the strength of the team, Vic's worst case scenario happened. Young, Portelance and Hanisch were too slow and timid. Hanisch especially seemed clueless about her positioning.

As defensive mid in the previous matches, Walk has been over her head and nothing changed today. The midfield didn't do much in the first two matches but were non-existent against Spain.

Canada looked clumsy, slow and dumb. Spain looked like the smart kid in the classroom making it look all too easy while Canada showed it was developmentally challenged.

I watched just first half and gave up, it was not a good game. There was no tension, and sorry to say, not a lot from Spain either.

But when it was 3-0 Canada had two good scoring chances and then a break, or maybe two, stupidly squandered. I'd tear those girls ears off, you cannot have the ball at your feet in an attacking mode and panic, then just dumbly waste it; if you are going to do that, then maybe we should someone else for the national team. There are certain minimums and reducing blatant errors has to be one of the top on the list. 

I find it hard to watch how the field is occupied at this age, the teams are hugely spread out, and overextended, and the time on the ball is endless if you can get it out wide. Overall, what we have are faux pressing movements up high, but the DMs and back line a huge distance away from the pressing attackers. And I am not just talking about Canada, in general we see this. So you have teams with trouble occupying the field, and then are overstretched. Makes for less entertaining football.

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Likely facing Germany in the knockout round as USA is going down with a similar scoreline to our B team effort.

 

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The loss today at the feet of Spain is likely due to the absence of Huitema sent off in the previous game by the Chilean referee Maria Belen Carvajal.

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1 hour ago, The Ref said:

The loss today at the feet of Spain is likely due to the absence of Huitema sent off in the previous game by the Chilean referee Maria Belen Carvajal.

You saw the game and you think it is likely we lost because we did not have Huitema? Thanks for the deep analysis. 

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1 hour ago, The Ref said:

The loss today at the feet of Spain is likely due to the absence of Huitema sent off in the previous game by the Chilean referee Maria Belen Carvajal.

That is hogwash. I wasn't able to watch all of the game, but from what I did see the girls did not have enough technical ability to deal with a high press, nor do they have the tactical knowledge to know what to do when their player gets beat. There is no support off the ball. Spain would pressure them in the neutral or attacking third, and panic would set in. I would say that it is an indication that soccer in Canada is currently failing to train these young players.  Athleticism can only get you so far.  It will not beat a well organized team with good technical ability.

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1 hour ago, Unnamed Trialist said:

You saw the game and you think it is likely we lost because we did not have Huitema? Thanks for the deep analysis. 

Spain had to win, we didn't. Totally agree absence of Huitema alone would not account for the pounding but we did sit 4 starters, aside from suspended Huitema, including stellar GK and CB. 

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3 hours ago, Ed_S said:

Spain had to win, we didn't. Totally agree absence of Huitema alone would not account for the pounding but we did sit 4 starters, aside from suspended Huitema, including stellar GK and CB. 

Aha, Wilkinson in her wisdom would have probably sat down Huitema anyway as she did with the 4 other starters.  So in retrospect the ejection of Huitema was irrelevant.  Wilkinson will have to pull up her socks with Germany.

 

Edited by The Ref

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7 hours ago, Ed_S said:

Spain had to win, we didn't. Totally agree absence of Huitema alone would not account for the pounding but we did sit 4 starters, aside from suspended Huitema, including stellar GK and CB. 

True enough. But I think Spain had it in their heads to avoid Germany, who were best positioned to end up first in their group, if they had all drawn.

I know that it was not at all clear and that if Germany had drawn, they'd have been 2nd and Canada would be facing North Korea, who are also very talented. It  perhaps did not make a huge difference for Canada, so I admit you are right. As I see it, Spain did not want to face an arch-rival in Germany in quarters, the same as we have to be pleased to avoid the US, better to do vs. a team with a fresh perspective, less history. I think Germany may even be a better rival for Canada as the N Korea passing game rivals Spain's.

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Unfortunately could not watch it so can't comment on the play.

Think Wilkinson made the right call though on her approach. To honour the game you play to win, and the best way to do that and go into a tough QF is to recover as best you can. It also has a silver lining of being able to give as many players as possible a chance to shine. Solid decision.

Worked out well too, think we match up much better to Germany than North Korea.

Interesting comment on the gaps between the lines and poor defensive organization. Someone very bright had told me earlier they were impressed by Spain's use of the entire field going the other direction, something Japan is known for as well. 

Germany were markedly outplayed by North Korea but won, we'll be looking to do the same and cash in the karma chip. It's not how much you have the ball, or number of shots, or touches or pass percentages, it's the number of times you put the ball in the net. Something tough to do when you're a teenager and playing in the biggest game of your life, but the same can be said for the Germans. The tight nerves could work in our favour.

The tear a strip off them thing... you have to be very careful doing that with young women. Very different thing than boys. If the timing and delivery is right it can be effective but more often than not you can do a lot more damage than help. 

I found the Colombia coach almost comical. Constantly frowning and angrily yelling and giving attitude to his players. About the worst choice you can put in charge of young women is an angry old man. Team connection and bond and for lack of a better word, togetherness,  is a very powerful force in women's soccer. A guy like that is the perfect way to burn that.

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Highlights of each of the German games below.

The precis is they have speed up top so you need it in the back and don't play a high line and give them easy lanes and let them in behind you. Drop off and keep them in front of you and force them to pick corners from distance and pray all the luck they've had shooting catches up with them.

Their defenders can be slow and make mistakes too. Cameroon had success on the run and the Americans could have had four on them as well between posts and hand balls.

The Germans have already played a couple of essentially elimination games and against very strong opponents. They're a quality side and have had a good buildup in a tough group but I don't think they realize how lucky they've been. I think they're over-inflated and like that they are.

Consider these two they just played:

Germany - USA
Shots 13-25
Possession 43-57
Passes 285-357
Pass Accuracy 62-73
Corners 1-8

Germany - North Korea
Shots 7-16
Possession 40-60
Passes 274-400
Pass Accuracy 66-72
Corners 4-4

They won both those games 4-1 and 4-0.  Games they were out-possessed by teams with more passes and better accuracy and out-shot by a 2-1 ratio in each.

The team they lost to and struggled with was Cameroon, who they hugely out-possessed, out-shot and out-passed.

And therein lies the rub.

 

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One more match highlights...

Also, one thing you need to be prepared for when you play Germany is the seriousness. It may be the beautiful game but the word "play" is not in their dictionary. Their level of compete and seriousness and focus is through the roof all day long. But if you have a good 120+ minute compete level and some good tricks up your sleeve and can manage that though, anything's possible.

 

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Today, 24 Nov - Play Offs 1 X 2 B's
             
17:00 Spain U17 W - North Korea U17 W 2.06 3.21 3.54 5
20:00 Japan U17 W - New Zealand U17 W 1.18 6.53 11.06 6
Tomorrow, 25 Nov - Play Offs 1 X 2 B's
             
19:00 Ghana U17 W - Mexico U17 W 2.11 3.39 3.18 5
22:00 Germany U17 W - Canada U17 W 1.20 6.46 10.93 5

 

Oddsmakers give us the same chance the Kiwi's have of beating Japan - a snowballs chance in Hell.
 
We're 11-1 and the Germans are almost even money.
 
They're beatable.

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TSN has decided MLS playoffs between American teams supersedes a quarterfinal match involving a Canadian youth national team. I haven't seen any Canadian media interest in MLS playoffs and there is no discussion on our forum. But at this point, no live TV for Canada match.

At least Sportsnet would have offered a stream option but no sight of it on TSN's site. In fact, all the quarters are being shown on a delayed basis. Canada match will be aired 1 day later on Monday afternoon. 

Update: Stream now available for Spain vs NK on tsn and Canada is listed to be streamed.

Edited by red card

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Where do the girls on the team come from.  Are they all from the so called Excel Program or were there scouts going about the country different leagues looking for top players? 

Edited by The Ref

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6 hours ago, The Ref said:

Where do the girls on the team come from.  Are they all from the so called Excel Program or were there scouts going about the country different leagues looking for top players? 

I don't know about around the country, but I was at the U18 club nationals in Surrey and CSA people were there scouting. 

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Spain-N Korea was a boring match, a tough match with no flow, Spain had a weak midfield but still dominated, Korea came back smartly, correctly, but had no possession. At least positionally and tactically it was well fought and high quality, in the sense that sometimes games that are not attractive to watch are like that: two good teams driving each other nuts. The Spanish announcers spent the whole game hammering the coach's tactics and positioning ideas, as well as making no subs in 90 minutes. I tended to agree that Spain's coaching is lacking.

Fair win for Spain who dominated the first 90 minutes. With N Zealand as the semi rival (the whole broadcast they just assumed Japan would win easily) that puts Spain in good stead for a final's appearance. 

The Spanish announcers also recognized that Canada basically threw the last group stage match, that we did not play our best players or push for a win, but accepted that we were in our right to do that.

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