May 20, 2012
AUCKLAND – New Zealand’s U-20 women’s football team have been given a lofty World Cup benchmark by the USA, who beat the Junior Football Ferns 5-0 in Los Angeles this morning.
The USA showed why they start among the favourites to win the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup held in Japan from August 19 to September 8, racing to a 2-0 lead inside the first 20 minutes and leading 3-0 at halftime.
They were 4-0 ahead two minutes into the second spell but the Junior Football Ferns found their feet and belatedly matched the hosts until a breakaway fifth goal five minutes before full time.
New Zealand coach Aaron McFarland says his players have responded well to the lesson they received.
“The players have quickly realised that’s where they need to be at a minimum, in order to get out of the group stages in Japan and then look at going beyond the quarterfinals,” McFarland said.
“The USA were a class act. They’ve been together for 14 or so internationals already, they were ruthless and they created all of those goals themselves, rather than feeding on any mistakes.
“We’ll take some positives out of the game, namely our distribution form the keeper and the ability to recycle possession under pressure .We had the lion share of possession in the second half and that gives us options for being able to play different styles when we get to Japan.
“The biggest positive is the way the players are reacting to the defeat. There’s a real hunger to work hard and close the gap.”
The draw for the 16-nation FIFA Women’s World Cup is June 4.
USA U-20 5 (14‘, 18‘, 34‘, 47‘, 85‘)
New Zealand U-20 0
Home Depot Centre, Los Angeles
New Zealand: Erin NAYLER (GK), Holly PATTERSON, Caitlin SMALLFIELD, Rebekah STOTT, Ashleigh WARD, Kate LOYE, Nadia PEARL (Katie ROOD 59’), Katie BOWEN (captain), Evie MILLYNN, Olivia CHANCE (Mary FRASER 77’), Hannah WILKINSON (Stephanie SKILTON 79’)
Substitutes not used: Corina BROWN (RGK), Tessa BERGER, Rachel HEAD, Emily COOPER, Tayla O'BRIEN.
Coach: Aaron MCFARLAND