At the end of December 2011, FIFA announced that the tournament would not be staged in Uzbekistan as previously scheduled because of a number of logistical and technical issues. Japan was officially named the host on February 8, 2012.
This will be the seventh Under-20 Women’s World Cup, and will be played from August 19 to September 8, 2012. It will be the first time Japan, winners of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, will host a FIFA women’s world championship for soccer.
The U-20 Women’s tournament was originally scheduled to be held in Uzbekistan from August 18 - September 8, 2012, and despite now being named the host nation, Japan had already booked a spot in the tournament via the Asian qualifiers.
Japan co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with South Korea and hosted the 1979 FIFA Under-20 World Cup and the 1993 U-17 FIFA World Cup.
Vietnam had originally won the right the host the tournament. However, Vietnam's bid imploded in late 2010 and New Zealand had initially been asked to be ready as a backup venue. New Zealand were eventually awarded the Men's 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Vietnam was forced to withdraw its bid, because it couldn't guarantee government backing and found the FIFA bid process "taxing" (that's the official translation).
FIFA finally awarded the right to host the games to Uzbekistan. However, in its meeting in Tokyo on December 2011, FIFA's Executive Committe decided to cancel Uzbekistan's hosting of the tournament due to "a number of logistical and technical issues", and anounced Japan had been proposed as the its new organizer.
“The (Japanese) government for its part wants to help organize a successful tournament especially after we saw Nadeshiko Japan’s great achievement (as the 2011 Women's World Cup champs),” says Japan's vice-minister of education Okumura Tenzo (surname first).
Three CONCACAF teams were added after an eight-team tournament was held in Panama City, Panama between March 1-11, 2012. Held at Estadio Rommel Fernandez, the tournament featured host Panama, the U.S., Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti.
The USA won a second consecutive CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship when the two-time world champions rallied from a goal down to defeat Canada 2-1. Both sides are in the U-20 Women's Cup, and are joined by Mexico who grabbed third place after defeating host Panama, 5-0.
Thirteen of the final 16 teams have already qualified. Joining Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are Germany, Italy, Norway and Switzerland (Europe); Japan (host), Korea DPR, China and Korea Republic - which qualified after Japan was named the host (Asia); and Argentina and Brazil (South America).
Results are still pending from the CAF - Confederation of African Football, as there is still two more rounds to go: Second Qualifying Round, held between March 30 - April 15, 2012 featuring Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Mali, Congo DR, Kenya, Tunisia, Ghana, South Africa. Played over two legs, the four winners progress to the next stage which will be held between May 4-20, 2012 with the top two nations advancing to Japan 2012.
The final qualifying team will come from the OFC - Oceania Football Confederation, with the qualifying tournament taking place in Auckland, New Zealand April 9-14, 2012 between New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Samoa.
Previous winners are:
Held in Germany in 2010, the Germans are the reigning champs, defeating Nigeria 2-0.
In 2008, the U.S. prevailed over Korea DPR in Chile.
In 2006 Korea DPR beat China PR in Russia.
The 2012 edition of the U-20 Women's World Cup will be played in five cities: Miyagi Stadium in Rifu (capacity 49,133); Urawa Komaba Stadium in Saitama (capacity 21,500): National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo (capacity 48,000); Niigata City Athletic Stadium in Niigata (capacity 18, 671); and Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium in Kobe (capacity 45,000)
Files compiled by Andrew Joseph