In the first match at Toronto’s National Soccer Stadium for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, Korea DPR defeated Finland 2-1.
Within ten seconds of the starting whistle a defensive mistake by the Finns nearly allowed the Koreans to open their account. The early scare saw the European team jittery on their feet and taking uncalculated risks while the Asian team’s quick passing game was easy on the eye.
Korea DPR first scored in the 15th minute from a cross delivered by Choe Un Hwa that was flicked in front of the net by Ri Un Sim from which Kim So Hyang placed a delicate header into the goal. The Koreans looked to have solidified their lead in the 27th minute after Choe Yun Gyong put a sweet shot from nearly 25 yards out passed Finnish goaltender Vera Varis. Yet within 60 seconds, Finland’s Sini Laaksonen scored an equally, if not more, impressive shot from the same range to beat Kim Chol Ok.
Tia Halinen and Laaksonen led the charge for Finland’s physical game with Laaksonen receiving the only yellow-card in the game. While the two teams were evenly matched, Finland couldn’t put the ball away despite numerous free-kicks and an opportunity in the 75th minute that saw Nora Heroum with a clear shot on net inside the 18-yard-box.
Korea DPR maintained 58% ball possession of the game and adapted to a “hold what we have” attitude in the last twenty minutes—it proved to be a fruitful strategy. Choe Yun Gyong was awarded the Live Your Goals Player of the Match.
Korea DPR has lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual winners during the last two U-20 Women’s World Cup tournaments (USA in 2012, Germany in 2010). They currently sit tied with Ghana at the top of Group A.
Both teams will play again on Friday, August 8 in Toronto. Korea DPR is set to face Ghana and Finland will play Canada.
PRK – Kim So Hyang – 15′
PRK – Choe Yung Gong – 27′
FIN – Sini Laaksonen – 28′
FIN – Sini Laaksonon (caution, 88′)
FIN: 1-Vera Varis, 2- Tia Halinen, 3-Emma Koivisto, 5-Katarina Naumanen, 6-Sini Laaksonen, 8-Emilia Iskanius, 9-Juliette Kemppi (17-Sanni Franssi, 73′), 10-Nora Heroum, 11-Adelina Engman, 15-Natalia Kuikka (7-Iina Salmi, 46′), 16-Ria Oling (18-Julia Tunturi, 85′)
Subs not used: 12-Krista Moisio, 12-Pauliina Tahtinen, 4-Tiia Peltonen, 13-Jenny Danielsson, 14-Paula Auvinen, 19-Tia-Maria Jaakonsaari, 20-Erika Winter
Head Coach: Marianne Miettinen
PKR: 1-Kim Chol Ok, 3- Choe Sol Gyong, 6- Kim Hyang Mi, 7-Choe Yun Gyong (8-Rim Se Ok, 77′), 9-Ri Hyang Sim, 10- Ri Un Sim (19-Ri Kyong Hyang, 63′), 12- Jon So Yon, 13- Kim Mi Gyong, 16- Ri Un Yong, 17- Choe Un Hwa, 20- Kim So Hyang (15-Jo Ryon Hwa, 56′)
Subs Not Used: 18-Rim Yong Hwa, 21-Jang Yong Sim, 2-Song Kyong Hui, 4-Choe Yong Mi, 5- Kang Ok Gum, 11-Kim Phyong Hwa, 14-Ri Kum Suk
Head Coach: Hwang Yong Bong