New Zealand’s Junior Ferns are out of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup after drawing their final pool game 2-2 with Colombia.
The Junior Ferns needed to win by a margin of two goals or better to go through to the knockout stages of the tournament in Costa Rica.
But despite Colombia being down to 10 players for the entire second half, New Zealand found it difficult to break through against their well-organised opponents at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica.
New Zealand got off to the best possible start when 16-year-old Milly Clegg latched onto a through ball in the third minute, nutmegged her opponent and then steered her shot into the far corner of the net.
Main photo: Milly Clegg … scored in the third minute.
Colombia’s star player Linda Caicedo levelled in the 10th minute when she saw the chance to strike from the edge of the area and her shot cleared the despairing dive of goalkeeper Murphy Sheaff.
The Colombians were rocked in the 42nd minute when defender Yirleidis Minota caught the ankle of New Zealand’s Ava Pritchard.
The officials went to VAR and after a review, the Colombian was given a straight red.
New Zealand, who had dominated possession in the first half, still found it difficult to convert possession into opportunities, and Colombia continued to create chances.
Striker Caicedo was always a handful, turning defenders and streaking into space.
She got loose again in the 63rd minute and put Colombia ahead with her second goal of the game.
New Zealand pushed forward, knowing they would need three goals in the final half hour to stay in Costa Rica.
They were given hope in the 71st minute when Charlotte Lancaster looped a ball high into the far corner of the Colombian goal after hitting a first-time shot from outside the area.
The Junior Ferns worked tirelessly till the final whistle but could not find a way through.
The result means Colombia finish top of Group B and go to the knockout stages with runners-up Mexico who eliminated three-times tournament winners Germany, beating them 1-0.
Colombia 2 (Linda Caicedo 10′, 63′)
New Zealand 2 (Milly Clegg 3′, Charlotte Lancaster 71′)
Shots (on target): Colombia 17 (7), New Zealand 10 (3)
Possession: Colombia 42%, New Zealand 58%
Corners: Colombia 2, New Zealand 4
Passes: Colombia 296, New Zealand 383
Pass accuracy: Colombia 58%, New Zealand 66%
Fouls: Colombia 14, New Zealand 11
Yellow cards: Colombia 2, New Zealand 4
Red cards: Colombia 1, New Zealand 0