After 13 days and 11 hotly-contested matches, the Girls’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament Nanjing 2014 is over and the final positions of the six participating teams have been determined. Following Chile’s crowning at the inaugural Girls’ YOFT four years ago in Singapore, hosts China PR vanquished Venezuela in this year’s final to dash the visitors’ dream of a second successive gold for South America.
Home team China PR achieved an unlikely 5-0 victory over Venezuela in the title-decider, with Lu Yiliang’s young Steel Roses completely overwhelming the pre-tournament favourites under Kenneth Zseremeta, whose roster included six veterans from the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica held back in April. What was billed as an even encounter turned out to be a rather more one-sided affair that ended in a historic victory by the hosts, who recorded China PR’s best placing in a FIFA event. Despite only emerging with the silver medal, the Venezuelan girls themselves achieved the South American nation’s highest finish in a FIFA finals tournament.
With Trinidad and Tobago having finished fifth in Singapore, fellow CONCACAF representatives Mexico improved on their predecessors’ performance during their own tournament bow in Nanjing, sealing bronze with Daniela Garcia’s last-minute header in a 3-1 victory over Slovakia. Under the stewardship of former Tricolores defender Monica Vergara, the highly skilled and well-drilled Mexicans had earlier held favourites Venezuela to a 1-1 stalemate in the semi-finals, only to lose in a penalty shoot-out.
Although missing out on a medal, Papua New Guinea broke new ground in their second outing at the Girls’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament. After collecting three defeats and no goals four years ago in Singapore, the Oceanian islanders made another barren start here in Nanjing, shipping 11 goals in their two group-stage defeats, but broke their tournament duck by beating Namibia 3-2 in the match for fifth place. A third straight loss did nothing to dampen the spirits of the southern Africans,Fifa 15 Coins, who themselves scored two wonderful goals. Also worth a mention are Slovakia, who showed great promise on their maiden outing in a FIFA women’s event, not only winning a match but losing narrowly to China PR on penalties after holding the hosts to a draw.