KEIR RADNEDGE in BAKU: The United States have been crowned women’s champions at World Under-20 and Olympic level this year but the under-17 title has eluded them.
Summer Green, Morgan Andrews and their team-mates trooped from the pitch at the Bayil stadium here in tears after a 1-1 draw against North Korea in their concluding Group B match.
Darian Jenkins scored in the 90th second only for Ri Um Sim to level within another two minutes and out the US went on goal difference.
The nimble, well-drilled Koreans – who has enough chances to have won the match – topped the group, with France following them through instead.
All three teams ended on five points but the Koreans already had a better goal difference than the US and so were bound to stay ahead of them with a draw.
The US had always been vulnerable to a French surge even though they began the two simultaneous matches with a one-point advantage. By the end of the 90 minutes France were level on points and through on goal difference ahead of the US after thrashing hapless Gambia 10-2 in Dalga.
Only in the last 10 minutes did a quarter-final spot escaped the Americans. It was in that closing stage of the other match that France scored four times to overtake the US on goal difference.
They headed home regretting the ambitious Andrews free kick from long range which struck the bar midway through the second half. However, the Koreans were the better team. Only sheer hard work and a little good fortune had kept the US in the match – and the tournament – until so late in the game.
** Nigeria topped Group A after a 3-0 win over Colombia in Bayil with Canada as runners-up after a 1-0 success over eliminated hosts Azerbaijan.
= = = =