Ghana and Brazil have qualified in their various groups at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay.
Ghana defeated New Zealand 2-0 in the final Match Day to top Group A and Bazil finished the 2018 campaign defeating South Africa 4-1 in Montevideo.
Ghana’s victory which gave them a 100 per cent success in group stage play was all thanks to a brace from captain Mukarama Abdulai.
The match was all about placement, with both sides having confirmed their quarter-final qualification last Match Day out.
The first half was played rather evenly, with Amelia Abbott producing the game’s first significant chance when she attempted a half-volley which flew over the crossbar.
Grace Animah forced Anna Leat into making an excellent save midway through the half.
The Kiwis’ goalkeeper did well to tip her shot over the crossbar while backtracking towards her goal.
Ghana captain and current golden boot leader Abdulai opened the scoring in the 61st minute when she ran on to a long ball lofted over the New Zealand backline.
She controlled the ball after the bounce and directing her shot past Leat into the bottom corner of the net.
Abdulai doubled Ghana’s lead shortly before full time with a driven shot into the near top corner past Leat, to bring her tournament tally to six goals in three matches.
Ghana will face Mexico in the quarter-finals on Sunday in Montevideo.
The Black Maidens have qualified for the last eight for the fourth consecutive time at a U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Their best performance in tournament history came in 2012 when they finished in third.
As Group A runners-up, New Zealand will take on Japan in Colonia Del Sacramento on Saturday.
The Kiwis will be competing in the knockout stage of a U-17 Women’s World Cup for the first time.
In the Group B match, it was an even match in the first half, as South Africa’s tactic early on was to play balls over the top of Brazil’s defence.
It nearly paid off on three occasions, with Brazil goalkeeper Mayara thwarting efforts by South Africa forward Chelsea Daniels on multiple occasions.
The second half looked like a completely different game, as four goals were incredibly scored within four minutes shortly after the restart.
Brazil took a quick two-goal lead through Jhennifer’s 20-yard strike.
Then Julia’s penalty kick, which was converted after Michie Minnies received a red card for handling the ball while preventing a clear goalscoring opportunity, extended their lead.
In spite of going down a player, South Africa found a goal of their own just two minutes later through Zethembiso Vilakazi.
She wriggled her way through the Brazil penalty area before rounding goalkeeper Mayara and placing the ball into the open net.
However, Brazil quickly regained their two-goal lead when substitute Amanda poked home a goal a minute later.
Maria Eduarda then scored the pick of the bunch to give Brazil more breathing room.
It came through a fiercely-hit shot from the top of the penalty area that flew into the top right corner of South Africa’s goal.
Attention then shifted to the result of the Japan-Mexico match, with Brazil’s fate dependent on the outcome in Maldonado.
Japan and Mexico finished 1-1, which meant that, in spite of their convincing win on Tuesday afternoon, Brazil narrowly missed out on a quarter-final berth at Uruguay 2018.
Therefore, Japan topped Group B with five points from three matches, ahead of Mexico on goal difference, +6 to +1, after both sides had one win and two draws each.
Brazil finished with four points from one win, one draw and one loss, while South Africa finished bottom of the group with one point from one draw and two losses.