Canada will face Korea DPR in the quarterfinal phase of the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan on Thursday. The two sides will meet at the 8KM Stadium in Baku with a 5 a.m. PT kickoff.
The winner of the Canada-Korea DPR quarterfinal will play the winner of the Nigeria-France quarterfinal in the semifinals. The Nigeria-France match kicks off at 8 a.m. PT, also at the 8KM Stadium in Baku.
Canada qualified for the quarter-final phase after finishing undefeated with seven points in three matches. Canada drew 1-1 with Nigeria on September 22, won 1-0 over Colombia on September 25, and 1-0 over host Azerbaijan on September 29. Canada's goalscorer was also the player of the match in all three group matches: Amandine Pierre-Louis against Nigeria, Whitecaps FC Girls Elite striker Summer Clarke against Colombia, and Valérie Sanderson against Azerbaijan.
The 16-team FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Azerbaijan 2012 runs September 22 to October 13 in Baku (five venues) and Lankaran (one venue). The four quarterfinal matches will be played over two days, with Groups A & B meeting on October 4 (Korea DPR v Canada and Nigeria v France) and Groups C & D meeting on October 5. The two semi-final matches will be played on October 9 while the third-place match and championship final will be played on October 13.
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Korea DPR are regular challengers at this level, having claimed the title at the inaugural edition at New Zealand 2008 before being knocked out in the semi-finals by Asian rivals Japan in Trinidad and Tobago two years later. Hwang Yong Bong's side have been in fine form so far, thrashing Gambia by a record 11-0 scoreline and then securing their place in the knockout stages with two somewhat less spectacular draws, Ri Un Sim scoring in all three group matches.
In their only meeting at a FIFA women's tournament to date, Korea DPR earned a 2-1 victory against Canada at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan earlier in the year. Now it's up to the 'younger' Canucks to make amends in Baku.
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Chinwendu Ihezuo already has the adidas Golden Boot in her sights as the tournament's top scorer with six goals so far, although Korea DPR's Ri Un Sim is staking a serious claim too with five strikes.
11 – Bryan Rosenfeld will lead Canada for the 11th time at a FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup when he takes to the dugout in Baku on Thursday. He was in charge of the Canucks at each of the two previous editions of the tournament and is the only coach, alongside Japan's Hiroshi Yoshida, to have been involved at all three FIFA U-17 Women's World Cups to date.
"Korea DPR are a good side, but we're an excellent team ourselves. They're quicker than us and they're very good dribblers, and we need to be on our guard against them when they attack. The goals will come if we stick together and stay strong and united. It's all or nothing now. If we win, we're into the next round. If we lose, we're going home. So we have to give our all," Valerie Sanderson, Canada forward