2016 U-20 Women's World Cup - Korea DPR vs France Preview: The Grand Finale

It is finally here. After 30 gruelling matches over a humid couple of weeks on the beautiful island of Papa New Guinea, there are two teams left and by the end of the day: one will be crowned.

The main battle, which will kick off three and a half hours after the third place match, is between previous winners Korea DPR and rookies France

France due victory

Korea DPR and France are familiar with each other, having met three times before and in this setting. There has been a grand total of eleven goals scored between the two, six for DPR and five for Les Bluettes. The Asian heavyweights have also covered themselves in more glory, winning two out of three of the encounters.

They have taken it in turns to win, Korea DPR winning the first, France the second and so on. So surely that means France could be ready to serve up some revenge? And what better stage to do it on than the World Cup final!?

Attack - defence

Korea DPR have had a sterling run in the competition so far as they have won all of their six games, by varying scorelines. Not to take away from their impressive form, the Asian team were only able to maintain a clean sheet once. Their ability to score goals is evident as they hold both attacking records, having the most goals (18!) and shots on goal (a whopping 97). However they may meet their defensive match in France as they too hold a tournament record.

Mylene Chavas has made the most saves of any keeper in the tournament and pulling out some phenomenal player of the match worthy performances. The shot stopper has made 15 saves in the five games she has played, that is a crazy 83.3% - head and shoulders above her competition that have played similar minutes to her.

It is not just the keeper that has been leading the defensive strength. Hawa Cissoko's has been noted as a key player as she was awarded with the Live Your Goals Player of the Match. Her stunning semi final performance kept out the strong attacking forces of Japan to the point that their only response came via a penalty. Alongside her, or rather just in front of her is holding midfielder Grace Geyoro, who has acted as a buffer between the attack and defence in addition to making those crucial interceptions.

North Korea have plenty of options in the goal scoring department, top goal scorers Kim So Hyang and Ri Syang Him both have four, and Ju Hyo Sim and Jon So Yon each have two. On the other hand, France are dependent on their speedy, attacking minded players Delphine Cascarino and Clara Mateo to make moves when it comes to the counter attack and scoring goals. 

Predictions

It is plain to see that Korea DPR are likely to pin France back in their first final but that could be dangerous for the Asian heavyweights as France know how to play the counter attack game as they displayed in the semi final. It is important to note that Korea DPR are feistier than Japan so may be able to pick holes in the backline with more luck than their AFC rivals.

While a flood of quick, tactical passing could be uncomfortable for most but from what they have shown, France are likely to deal with it well. That being said the addition of a trophy final atmosphere, the pressure throws in an extra unpredictable variable.

Overall, despite North Korea's almost perfect run in the competition, France have gradually grown into themselves from their initial draw with the USA in the opening group game of the competition. Since then they have started to score more goals, not a massive amount as they maintaining their ability to defend - but enough to see the game out. With that in mind and their ability to combat tiki taka style play, which Korea DPR opt for, they could be worth a bet.

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