September 22, 2012
AUCKLAND – The Young Football Ferns chances of advancing to the quarter final stage have taken a hit after they were beaten 1-0 by Mexico in their opening FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup match in Azerbaijan.
It is the second match in recent times that a Mexican side has had an impact on New Zealand’s hopes following the U-20’s loss in their final group match to the CONCACAF powerhouse in Japan last month.
The loss will be hard for Paul Temple and his charges to take after dominating possession but failing to create any meaningful chances in brutal 33 degree heat at Bayil Stadium in Baku.
"It was hot, it was stifling really and when you throw in the nerves it adds up," said Temple.
"We played out from the back and passed it around well but we did most of our work in areas that weren't dangerous," he added, "we do have pace but you didn't see it today and that was vital really.
"There was some poor movement, and we didn’t get the ball into that zone in front of the penalty box to create chances and that is an area we need to work on if we are to be a goal threat," said Temple
Conversely Mexico employed a 'fire on sight' tactic for much of the match, out shooting the Young Football Ferns by 24 to seven with only a handful on target.
Fernanda Perez’s 36th minute goal was the difference between the teams, the lively frontrunner had rocked Lily Alfeld's crossbar earlier in the match and then slide the ball wide of the upright moments later.
Her persistence finally paid off after a period of sustained Mexican pressure with a free-header just outside the six-yard-box.
The score could have been more had it not been for the brilliance of Alfeld who spectacularly denied substitute Samantha Arellano, and foiled Taylor Alvarado twice in quick succession in one-on-one situations.
Despite shading Mexico in terms of possession, the Young Football Ferns didn’t create any clear chances and were often reduced to speculative chances, the best of which fell to Canada-based Emma Fletcher who rippled the roof of the net from a first half free kick.
With CJ Bott ruled out with an ankle injury, 2010 U-17 Women’s World Cup veteran Megan Lee started in the centre of defence, but the injury nightmare continued for Temple with Lee hobbling off after 70 minutes.
The Young Football Ferns now face Japan in what shapes as a must-win encounter on Thursday morning (NZ time) a fact not lost on Temple. "There's a bit of pressure on that one now. If we are going to progress we need to get a point or three. It's a very difficult task and it always was going to be a difficult task."
The other match in Group C will see Mexico play Brazil earlier on the same day.
FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Azerbaijan 2012
At Bayil Stadium, Baku
New Zealand 0
Mexico 1 (Amanda PEREZ 36’)
New Zealand: 1-Lily ALFELD (gk), 2-Meikayla MOORE, 3-Laura MERRIN, 5-Emily JENSEN, 6-Hannah CARLSEN (c), 7-Jasmine PEREIRA, 9-Martine PUKETAPU, 10-Emma FLETCHER, 11-Briar PALMER (18-Emma ROLSTON 46’), 13-Megan LEE (21-Courtney VAN LIESHOUT 70’), 14-Jessica INNES (8-Daisy CLEVERLEY 46’)
Substitutes not used: 12-Megan ROBERTSON, 15-Lauren DABNER, 17-Emily OOSTERHOF, 19-Tayla CHRISTENSEN, 20-Emma TAYLOR (gk)
Injured: 4-CJ BOTT, 16-Ronisa LIPI (gk)
Coach: Paul TEMPLE
Mexico: 1-Gabriela PAZ (gk), 2-Jaqueline RODRIGUEZ, 4-Jocelyn OREJEL, 5-Paulina SOLIS, 6-Karla NIETO (c), 7-Taylor ALVARADO (17-Natalie RIVAS 68’), 8-Greta ESPINOZA, 9-Luz DUARTE, 10-Cynthia PINEDA, 14-Fernanda PEREZ (20-Jenny CHIU 82’), 18-Hallie HERNANDEZ (11-Samantha ARELLANO 59’)
Substitutes not used: 3-Jessica VALADEZ, 12-Esthefanny BARRERAS (gk), 13-Paola URBIETA, 15-Mariana CADENA, 16-Michelle GONZALEZ, 19-Gabriela ALVAREZ, 21-Adela MEZA (gk)
Coach: Christopher CUELLAR
New Zealand schedule
New Zealand v Japan
8km Stadium, Baku
8pm (3am 27/9 NZT)
Live on Sky Sport 1 from 2:48am
New Zealand v Brazil
8km Stadium, Baku
2pm (9pm NZT)
Sky Sport coverage TBC