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Early US strikes down NZ at U20 World Cup

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 17/11/2016

New Zealand paid for reckless defending in 3-1 loss to the United States which puts their quarter-final hopes on hold at women's under-20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea.

Following 1-0 win over Ghana in their opening pool match, second-placed Junior Football Ferns must now beat France on Monday to guarantee a passage to the last eight. A draw would be enough unless winless Ghana upset the unbeaten USA.

Two sloppy defensive errors inside the first eight minutes proved costly on Thursday.

Centre back Liz Anton was dispossessed at the top of the box, allowing Ashley Sanchez a straightforward goal, while a pass deep in New Zealand territory was pounced on by US skipper Mallory Pugh.

New Zealand's hopes were revived 15 minutes from the end when midfielder Isabella Coombes volleyed home from the edge of the box off a partial clearance.

US substitute Ally Watt completed the scoring 8min from time.

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