It was a mix of relief and delight for the host nation as South Africa defeated Ireland 1-0 in a nervy Pool B clash that would decide who progressed to the quarter-finals, in the first match on Monday.
If that match was edgy and goals hard to come by, the second match saw Netherlands go on a scoring-spree against Zimbabwe. Two weather interruptions couldn’t prevent the Dutch from showing their class when in attack. The 18 goals scored by the Dutch is a new record for a team at the Junior World Cup and beats the record the Netherlands themselves had set back in 1989 - also against Zimbabwe.
The third match of the day was a north American clash between Canada and USA. The USA had never beaten Canada in a Women’s Junior World Cup match so there was a heightened sense of frisson as the teams took to the field. This was a day for history making though and USA’s 4-0 win was achieved on the back of some sparkling performances by the energetic Americans.