Young Australian side started their FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup campaign in style with a 3-1 win over hosts Costa Rica in the Group A match on the opening day of the event on Wednesday.
Sarah Hunter and Bryleeh Henry scored back-to-back goals in the first half to upset the home crowd before Kirsty Fenton’s header in the second half steered Australia to a comfortable win.
Costa Rica had history within their grasp in Group A, the host nation leading 1-0 during the first half at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose, to the delight of over 20,000 fans who had previously been treated to a firework display – in a tournament featuring 326 players from 16 countries.
However, Australia turned the match around before the break, leaving Las Ticas still in search of their first point after seven attempts in this version of the tournament.
Prior to that match, Brazil and Spain played out a pulsating goalless draw. The result may not have come as any surprise. When Brazil meet European opposition at this tournament, the odds are very much on a draw. Five of the South Americans’ last six U-20 Women’s World Cup matches against teams from the old continent have ended with a share of the spoils.
In Group B, record tournament-winners Germany got off to a disappointing start as Colombia scored the only goal of the game – and the first at Costa Rica 2022 – late on to take the three points and top the table. Mariana Munoz came on for Colombia in the 72nd minute and, just 180 seconds before the final whistle, found the bottom left-hand corner from 14 metres out to score the winner and only goal of the game.
“It was the kind of match we expected – tough and full of duels. We didn’t manage to get ourselves into the game and couldn’t implement what we had set out to do. The girls were up for it but we took a knock-out punch right at the end, and we need to learn our lessons from it,” Germany coach Kathrin Peter, said in a post-game interview.
New Zealand and Mexico split the points in an entertaining 1-1 draw.
The New Zealanders have now gone six games in a row at the FIFA-U-20 Women’s World Cup without a win. The Kiwis’ last victory came against Ghana (1-0) in the opening match of the 2016 tournament.