FIFA Women's under-17 World Cup - Group Stage Review: Giants tumble as new stars emerge on world stage

FIFA Women's under-17 World Cup - Group Stage Review: Giants tumble as new stars emerge on world stage

Though it may be viewed as a stage where young stars continue their development, this year's competition has so far shown that the women's game continues to grow and more nations are reaching the next level in their game.

Kudzi Musarurwa

After a week that saw 48 matches being played throughout three cities in Jordan, the 2016 FIFA Women's U17 World Cup has now reached the quarter-final stages of its journey and has left some big names behind in its wake.

Fans in AmmanIrbid and Zarqa have witnessed the next generation of women's football and have no doubt been entertained by what they have seen. In this round-up, we will take a look at each group and how it ended after three rounds of matches.

The hosts fail to qualify from Group A

Group A consisted of the hosts Jordan, previous finalists SpainMexico and New Zealand. The hosts failed to gain any points within the group but Sarah Abu Sabbah gave the nation something to cheer about when she scored a spectacular opener against Mexico in the second group game for Jordan.

Mexico finished as group winners with seven points, ahead of Spain who finished on the same number of points but Mexico had the greater goal advantage. New Zealand finished third in the group with one win out of three and unfortunately, along with Jordan, failed to qualify for the knock-out stage of the tournament.

Spain may have finished second in the group but their style of play has been one of the best to watch in the tournament. Lorena Navarro has been in scintillating form for the Spaniards and leads the goal-scoring charts going into the knock-out stages with five goals. If the Spaniards continue to play in their familiar tiki-taka style, not many teams will be able to match up to their control of possession and they will look to use that to advance deep into the tournament.

For Mexico, the standout player has been Jazmín Enrigue who has two goals in the tournament so far. Her ability to shoot from any angle with barely any back lift has certainly caught the eye and has helped her team fashion chances from second efforts after she has taken a shot at goal. Enrigue will certainly be hoping to add to her tally in the quarter-final stages and help her team advance to the final.

Germany, Venezuela march on from Group B

Group B featured the likes of Germany, Venezuela, Canada and Cameroon and while most would have backed at least Germany to make it to the quarter-finals, not many would have seen Venezuela emerge as the second team to qualify from Group B ahead of Canada and Cameroon. Germany continued their dominance in the women's game by finishing first in the group with seven points out of nine while Venezuela came in second with six points out of a possible nine.

The big turning point of this group was on Matchday 3 which saw Venezuela upset Canada with a 2-0 win which eliminated the Canadians, who had players that had featured for the senior team at the Olympics, and sent Venezuela through as the dark horses of the tournament.

Lena Oberdorf was the pick of the Germans with two goals to her name during the group games but the star of the tournament so far has been Venezuelan captain and Florida State University striker Deyna Castellanos. Castellanos finished as the Golden Boot winner at the 2014 FIFA Women's U17 World Cup and has carried her fantastic form into this edition of the U17 competition.

The FSU starlet has probably the goal of the tournament so far when, against Cameroon, she picked up the ball from a restart and scored a magnificent effort from close to the centre circle. All teams in the knock-out rounds will certainly be circling her as the difference maker for Venezuela and she herself will be keen to push her team all the way to the final.

Group C sees a shock exit on Matchday 3

Group C was probably the toughest group on paper and it certainly proved to be the case as Korea DPREnglandBrazil and Nigeria battled each other to reach the quarter-final stages. 2008 World Cup champions Korea DPR continued their strong performance in the competition by finishing first in the group with seven points and England did well to finish in second with five points ahead of Brazil and Nigeria. Korea DPR finished strongly after initially ending in a draw in their group opener against England and England left it late, with a 2-1 win over Brazil in the final group game of Group C, to qualify for the quarter-finals after drawing their first two matches.

Ri Hae-yon leads the way for Korea DPR with four goals so far in the tournament and has been ably assisted by the likes of Kim Pom-uiKo Kyong-hui and Sung Hyang Sim. The Koreans always have a strong showing at the U17 level and will expect to far into this tournament as well. For England, Georgia Stanway, who scored the two winning goals against Brazil, will have to step up even further along with the rest of her teammates to at least equal their fourth place finish at the 2008 edition of the U17 World Cup.

USA out and Japan through from Group D

The other big news from the group stages was the exit of current World Cup champions, the United States of America. In a group that also featured rivals Japan, Paraguay and Ghana, the Americans failed to qualify for the knock-out stages once again at this level. Japan finished on top with three wins out of three after making short work of both Ghana and Paraguay and then coming out of a 3-2 thriller against the USA to finish top of the group. Ghana, who finished second in the group, also gave a good account of themselves as they bounced back from their opening day loss against Japan to beat the US and Paraguay and finish on six points after the group stages.

Japan continue to be the class of the women's game and their stand out players so far have been Sakura Nojima and Hinata Miyazawa even though the Japanese play a technically pleasing game that requires excellent performances from the entire team rather than one individual star. For Ghana, Sandra Owusu-Ansah finished the group with two goals and it was her game-winning penalty against the US that sent Ghana through to the knock-out rounds. Any one of these players will definitely be ones to watch when the quarter-final stages are underway.

The Amman International Stadium in Amman will play the host for the first two quarter-final matches which will see Mexico and Venezuela kick off first then followed by Germany versus Spain on Wednesday. The following day, the Al Hassan International Stadium in Irbid will be the host for the next round of quarter-final matches where Korea DPR will face Ghana and tournament favourites Japan will square up against England.