FORT BLISS, Texas –
After ten days of intense soccer, scorching heat, high winds and international camaraderie, the final day of competition with feature the top four nations to compete for the right to earn a medal at the 2018 Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) World Women’s Military Football Championship here at Stout Field at Fort Bliss, Texas.
South Korea and China took to the field Saturday evening in a critical match to determine which nation would compete for gold or bronze.
Stakes were high, as each nation went undefeated and did not allow a goal in their first three contests. The difference was China’s edge over Korea after Korea’s 0-0 draw against the Netherlands.
The first half started with careful passes and little shots on goal. By the 31st minute, South Korea’s Staff Sgt. Minjin Kim scored a beautiful goal to put Korea up on the board first.
The second half saw more action has the plays went back and forth on both sides.
In the 64th minute, South Korea scored once again on a corner kick that produced a frenzy in front of the net. After multiple attempts to score by Korea, China’s Cadet Tingting Sun knocked the ball into her own goal when attempting to clear the ball out of their defensive zone.
South Korea held onto to lead despite China’s continued pressure to score. South Korea has reached the finals on multiple occasions, but has not been able to capture gold. Korea is hungry for the title and hopes that this will be their year.
Despite their loss to Korea, China earned nine tournament points, good enough for a trip to the bronze medal match scheduled at 10:00 a.m. on July 3rd.
USA OPENS UP OFFENSE
In earlier action, the United States opened up their offense against a tough Netherlands defensive team, defeating the Dutch 3-1.
The U.S. game plan was to start out quick and strong offensively, a tactic they did not deploy earlier in the tournament.
In the ninth minute, Netherlands Capt. Sanne Schoenmakers took advantage of a beautiful deep pass from the midfield leaving a one-on-one situation between Schoenmakers and U.S. goalie Air Force Capt. Kelly Griffith of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Griffith challenged, but was unable to make the save.
Grffith however, bounced back and was challenged once again in less than one minute later, saving the goal and prevented the Netherlands from taking a two-point lead in the first ten minutes.
In the 14th minute, Air Force Ariel Saltin of Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina put the U.S. on the board to tie the match.
Saltin threw the ball in from out of bounds, then immediately received the pass from teammate Marine Corps 2nd lt. Amy Horney of Quantico, Va. and drove to the net kicking a long shot hitting the upper right corner over the outstretched arm of Netherlands goalie Cpl. Petra Dugardijn.
In the 45th minute, Air Force Capt. Krystin Cooper of Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. delivered a beautiful pass from down low in front of the goal with Navy Lt. Anastasia Abid of Newport, R.I. knocking in the second goal to close the first half.
With the U.S. up 2-1, Air Force 2nd lt. Kyele Bridel of Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. forced a turnover and took control of the ball on a fast breakaway scoring on a long kick from the top of the right penalty box.
The United States finished third in Group A after losing to South Korea and China earlier in the tournament. Netherlands allowed only one goal in their first three matches, forcing 0-0 draws with both Canada and South Korea. Their only goal and loss was against China.
USA finished with six tournament points and the Netherlands finished with two.
FRANCE REACHES BRONZE MEDAL MATCH
After losing to Brazil 3-0, France looked for redemption and a shot at walking away with at least the bronze medal.
Facing Bahrain in their final match of the tournament, France opened up their offense early scoring three times in the first 20 minutes of the match.
France’s Sarah Palacin took control of the board in the sixth minute of play followed by back-to-back goals by Ghoutia Karchouni scoring in the eleventh and nineteenth minutes.
Manon Guitard closed out the first half scores for France, moving the French team to a 4-0 lead in the 36th minute.
France continued their dominance in the second half with goals by Ludivine Bultel in the 55th minute and Marina Makanza scoring in the 72nd minute.
Bultel registered her second goal in the 90th minute, as Claire Guillard finished out the match with another French goal three minutes into stoppage time of the 90th minute.
France defeated Bahrain 8-0, with Bahrain unable to register a single shot on goal.
France finished the tournament with their only loss and goals allowed (3) to Brazil. France will face China for the bronze.
BRAZIL RETURNS TO THE FINALS
With twelve goals forced and none allowed, the Brazilian juggernaut looked primed and ready to stay undefeated and earn their third straight trip to the finals of the CISM Women’s Football Championship.
Two-time defending champion Germany was determined to leave the tournament without a fight.
In much of the first half of the match, the score remained tied until Sgt. Barbara Ferreira put Brazil on the board with a solid goal in the 41st minute.
This was the longest it took Brazil to score throughout the tournament, but it took only four more minutes with Sgt. Rayanne Machado to close out the half with a goal in the 45th minute.
Brazil and Germany displayed solid defense in the second half before Sgt. Pamela Vasconcelos scored her sixth goal of the tournament, giving Brazil a 3-0 lead in the 82nd minute.
Brazil held on to defeat Germany 3-0, outscoring all of the opponents 15-0 in Group Phase action.
Brazil and Korea will battle for gold on July 3rd at 7:00 p.m. (Mountain Daylight Time) at Stout Field at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Brazil is looking for their fifth CISM Women’s Football title, with Korea seeking their first.
Follow the action at www.armedforcessports.com for live coverage.