Friday, April 03, 2020
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Few people know it’s taking place, and even fewer care, but this Saturday marks the final of the U-17 Women’s World Cup. For the past month the young ladies have been plying their trade out in New Zealand in lamentably loose fitting shorts.

 
 

Yesterday, England’s ‘Brave Girls’ were knocked out of the tournament in the semi-finals. The 2-1 defeat came at the hands of the misleadingly named Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea. England’s defense was terrorised by the lethal 15-year-old, Jon Myong Hwa, who nodded in the winner - her fourth goal of the tournament - on the verge of half-time.

 

In spite of their despotic leadership, North Korea is, surprisingly, a powerhouse of women’s football. The reigning holders of the U-20s Women’s World Cup and the Women’s Asia cup, they have a long tradition of proliferating and enriching young female talent. 

 

Although the country is almost entirely closed to outsiders, news of mass disasters, famines and epidemics have managed to leak out via satellite imagery and the few reports that come from inside the state. In spite of this, funding for women’s football is amongst the highest in the world. Something the authorities see as an ideal conduit through which to change people’s perceptions of the regime.  

 

In an ironic twist of fate, North Korea will face long standing political foes - and rival women’s football powerhouse - the USA, in the final. The bi-polar power divide has seen America take gold at this summer’s Olympic games. Rumours attest to both sets of girls being particularly fired up for this ‘Axis of Evil’ grudge match.

 

 

 In another curious, if somewhat predictable turn, England will contest the third place play-off against their own traditional footballing and war-time nemesis: Germany.

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