September 22, 2012
U.S., France in scoreless tie at U-17 Women's World Cup
LANKARAN, Azerbaijan - The United States opened the FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup with a scoreless draw against France in the Group B opener for both teams at Lankaran Stadium on Saturday.
U.S. goalkeeper Jane Campbell made 12 saves as the defense withstood France's attack to share second place in the group stage. North Korea took the early Group B lead with an 11-0 victory over Gambia earlier in the day.
The U.S. faces Gambia at Dalga Arena in Baku at 7 a.m. CT on Tuesday. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN3. Fans can also follow the match on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.
On Saturday, the Americans needed to make an early defensive substitution when Lizzy Raben came in for center back Mandy Freeman, who took a blow to the face in the 11th minute. As Freeman was being evaluated, coach Albertin Montoya brought in Raben in the 13th minute.
The defense held its ground late in the first half when France's Kadidiatou Diani had two scoring opportunities in the 41st minute. Her first attempt, a left-footed shot, was blocked by Raben and the rebound came back to Diani, whose right-footed shot went high and wide right of the frame.
Toni Payne had the only shot on goal for the U.S. in the first half and it came stoppage time. Summer Green guided a pass behind France's defense and Payne converged, taking a shot at the goal asgoalkeeper Romaine Bruneau rushed outside of the goal box and batted it away.
Campbell came through with some big saves throughout the second half. She turned away three shots from France's Diani, including two diving stops to her right. Campbell also saved a Lea Declercq free kick at close range that eluded the USA wall.
Green, who tallied a record 12 goals during CONCACAF qualifying, was held in check by France's back line. The French defense maintained a high line as Green was ruled offside four times. The fourth infraction in the 86th minute resulted in a yellow card as she kicked the ball into the net well after the whistle had been blown.