- La Rojita clinched their country’s first-ever women’s title
- Mexico and New Zealand also made history
- Claudia Pina named best player in a tournament with few goals
Spain became the fifth country to win the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, lifting the coveted trophy at Uruguay 2018 and laying to rest the demons of Costa Rica 2014, when they lost in the final.
La Rojita spearheaded a never-before-seen top three, with surprise packages Mexico and New Zealand finishing second and third respectively.
This unexpected podium underlines the parity that prevailed in the sixth edition of the tournament, which was notable for two other trends: goals were few and far between, and for the first time, no Asian team featured in the last four.
The top three
Spain finished the competition unbeaten, winning four and drawing two of their matches, and they scored 14 goals while conceding just three. On their road to glory, they disposed of the not insignificant challenge posed by defending champions Korea DPR, the only country to have claimed two U-17 Women’s World Cup titles.
Boosted by the ‘veterans’, namely Claudia Pina, Catalina Coll and Eva Navarro, who were all part of the Spain squad that reached the final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018, and aided by burgeoning talents such as Irene Lopez and Salma Paralluelo, the Spaniards confirmed their status of front-runners in brilliant fashion. It was no surprise, therefore, that their players featured so prominently in the individual awards.
Mexico took a practical approach, scoring just six goals as they became just the second CONCACAF side to make it to the final, something which had not occurred since the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2008. Nicole Perez excelled for El Tri, as did other key players like goalkeeper Jaidy Gutierrez and midfielder Silvana Flores.
New Zealand were united and fought hard for one another, defeating Canada in the match for third place – the best-ever performance by the diminutive nation in a FIFA-run tournament (men’s or women’s). In addition, their performances point to a bright future for the OFC representatives.