Following easy wins for the obviously greater sides in the opening day of the U-20 Women's World Cup, there was high goal scoring expectations . This was the case in some games but the day proved to be more juicy than anticipated.
Two title contenders butted heads in an incredibly close tie, while two six goal thrillers took place in another exciting day in the tournament...
Group A - Korea DPR 4-2 Brazil
Surely a 9-0 victory is enough fuel to carry a team into a successive win? Wrong. Brazil experienced what it is like to be the inferior side when they took on Korea DPR. The six goal thriller favoured the Asian side who now ascend to the top of the table, guaranteeing their progression in the competition.
The match kicked off with fire as the top two of Group A looked hungry for the top spot upon which Brazil sat with a superior goal different.
Ri Un Yong picked up the first caution of the game for bringing Gabi Nunes with sheer venom. She would also pick up the last yellow card of the game, in the seventh minute of additional time. Yong was not the only offender as the game ended with seven yellow cards being dished out, not to mention that both teams lost a player to expulsion. Entirely exposing the fierce nature of this clash.
After 20 minutes of play, Choe Sol Gyong took her team into a deserved as was there to pounce on the ball as it ricocheted off the wood work from a powerful corner. They only managed to hold onto that lead for a whole nine minutes as Nunes sought vengeance, smashing home a clever flick from Geyse who was on the floor and surrounded by players.
Picking up momentum from their equaliser, Brazil looked the brighter of the two but the flow of play certainly did not dictate what would happen next...
In 11 long, tormenting minutes, Korea DPR stunned the tournament with a three goals. The first came from another instance of goal poaching. Ri Hyang Sim connected with a loose ball it was a clumsy goal but it restored their advantage over Brazil. The second came just five minutes later, this time a beautiful freekick from Jon So Yon who beat everyone but the post. Luckily for them, the rebound hit keeper Carla's back, sending the ball over the line in a miserable fashion.
The final of Korea DPR's vicious 11 minute attack was a result of frustration as the Brazilians gifted their opposition with a penalty in the sixth minute of additional time. Freekick taker Jon So Yon stepped up to the spot and struck the ball with precision into the far corner of the net, Carla had no chance.
There was a whole second half left for the South Americans to make their comeback but the only response Brazil had was Brena's confident penalty. The shocking loss now leaves them with a must win fixture.
Papa New Guinea 0-6 Sweden
Sweden's attacking juggernaut Stina Blackstenius showed the hosts what she is made of when she contributed four of Sweden's six goals in an emphatic victory over Papa New Guinea.
The age old tactic of a team with one stand-out player was seen at Sir John Guise Stadium as Sweden lobbed the ball to their star striker repeatedly. Luckily for the Swedes, Blackstenius was up against a whole lot of inexperience so it paid off, but they should not expect as high of a return on investment when it comes to Brazil.
The first installment of the six goals came from an intelligent ball over Blackstenius' two markers, the rest was up to her and she took it in her stride. Bringing keeper Lavina Hola out from between the sticks, then leaving her on the ground with one sharp turn, the striker then fired in a flat ball from a difficult angle. The ball trudged over the line and took the Swedes into the lead.
The next goal was just as clever as the number nine, while outnumbered, dinked the ball over Hola and well into the back of the net. That was the end of the scoring for the second half, but the forward made her mark in the second half with another two goals.
Blackstenius missed a golden opportunity to level the individual scoring record and also to net the goal of the game. The Linköping striker made a smart turn around two defenders, finishing the move off with a powerful shot that only met the cross bar.
After the number nine had finished scoring, Johanna Kaneryd and Anna Anvegård stepped up to the mark and put themselves on the scoresheet in quick succession. Kaneryd with a nifty close-range flick in and Avengård with a sublime strike from outside the box, under pressure.
Putting the scoreline to one side, Papa New Guinea looked as though they had learned from a shocking 9-0 defeat already, holding off Sweden but inevitably their firing power was too much. That did not stop the 9,123 fans in attendance from cheering in delight whenever their team moved forward with sequences of passes. They are just happy to see their country represented on the World Stage.
Group B - Spain 1-0 Japan
Like in Group A, the two teams to beat met for the second round of the group games. Unlike Korea DPR and Brazil's high scoring show, Spain and Japan were involved in an extremely close tie. In fact, the only thing to separate the two sides was a late penalty kick.
The game ending in a win for either Spain or Japan would have been half on either side as they both balanced the scales with excellent performances.
However, in the first half it was Japan who edged it as they went closer to the lead than their Spanish counterparts, more than once. The first wasted opportunity was a result of Ruki Norimatsu's header that bounced wide of the posts. Another header went wide for Japan from a perfect Yuka Momiki corner. The chances were coming for Japan, they were just failing to convert like they usually do.
Spain failed to produce much for themselves in the first half but after the break, they really took it to their opponents. Patricia Guijarro turned the heat up on the unexpectedly tepid game when she penetrated the well-oiled backline of the. From there, Spain looked like scoring.
It is unlike the Japanese to give away a penalty as they are usually such an honest, fair side. It was not a poor tackle but a handball that granted Spain with the opportunity to take the lead over their title rivals.
Maria Caldentey stepped up to the mark, calm and composed. She hit the spotkick straight past a competent Chika Hiraro who dove the right way but the pace and power of the ball made it unstoppable.
Spain, now filled with confidence, almost doubled their lead as Maite Oroz, another clever substitution from Pedro Lopez, hit a volley wide of the far post. They now look comfortable with six points while Japan are left in a do-or-die situation with one last group game left.
Nigeria 3-1 Canada
Nigeria proved their mental strength as they bounced back from a heavy 6-0 defeat to Japan with a confident win over Canada. After Spain's victory they sit below the threshold for the next round - having to beat the strongest team in the group, emphatically, to even have a sniff of progression.
The match did not start out the way that the scoreline suggests. The Canadians put themselves in the lead despite the heavy fire from the opposition. Five minutes on from Nigeria's first chance, Deanne Rose used her control to catch a long, floating ball into the box. She then played a perfect pass to her number 10, Gabrielle Carle who was able to curve the ball around keeper Onyinyechukwu Okeke with a close range, first touch effort.
With only 15 minutes played, Nigeria were unfazed and continued as they were - high pressing and on the hunt for an equaliser.
That golden goal eventually did come in the form of a penalty in additional time of the first half. Chinaza Uchendo struck a powerful shot right into the path of Rylee Foster but the keeper's hands were too late to save it.
Nigeria had changed the game going into the break and they capatlised on the fresh advantage. Beginning the second half with a fantastic goal that took them into a winning position. Canadian defender Hannah Taylor was unable to maintain control of the ball in order to sweep it out of danger, instead Joy Bokiri found the ball and reacted with instinct. She took the strike fiercely, all Canada could do was watch as the ball rocketed into the net to put them behind.
The game was eventually killed off when Chinwendu Ihezuo was there to pick up the pieces of a goal keeping error and rearranged said pieces into a doubled advantage for Nigeria.
Things look extremely bleak for Canada now having to face a mighty Japan side with no points.