BATON ROUGE – LSU’s All-SEC left back Megan Lee and Class of 2014 goalkeeper recruit Lily Alfeld led New Zealand’s defensive effort in a 2-0 victory over Paraguay on Wednesday night as the Junior Football Ferns fired out of the blocks at the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 while tying France atop Group D with three points apiece.
Lee started and played 74 minutes at left back for the Ferns and Alfeld stopped all four of Paraguay’s shots on target in the match to keep a clean sheet in New Zealand’s opening match of the tournament.
While New Zealand opened the tournament with a 2-0 win over Paraguay in its first match of the group stage, France moved to the top of Group D on goal differential thanks to a 5-1 thrashing of Costa Rica also held on Friday night. The top two teams in each of the four groups at this year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup will advance to the quarterfinals of the knockout rounds beginning Aug. 16.
New Zealand will face France with control of Group D on the line in the second round of group games on Saturday with kickoff set for 4 p.m. CT at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec.
While New Zealand kicked off the tournament with a victory in its first group match, Canada fell short in a 1-0 defeat to Ghana in its opening match in Group A held at the National Soccer Stadium in Toronto on Tuesday night. LSU’s All-SEC midfielder Emma Fletcher earned a start for Canada and played 52 minutes before coming off in the second half.
With Canada trailing 1-0 before the half, Fletcher created the best scoring chance of the match for the hosts when she took a throw in on the far side of the field, split two Ghanaian defenders, cut into the penalty area to her right and fired a right-footed strike from 15 yards that smashed off the left post before being cleared out of danger by the Ghana defense.
LSU’s Class of 2014 defender recruit Jordane Carvery was an unused substitute for Canada during the match as she is one of the team’s top reserves at center back during this year’s tournament.
Canada will look to bounce back on Friday night when it battles Finland in the second round of matches in Group A with kickoff set for 7 p.m. CT in Toronto. LSU fans in the United States can watch Fletcher, Carvery and the rest of their Canadian teammates in action as the match will be streamed live on ESPN3.com and on the Watch ESPN app on computers, smartphones and tablets.