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PNG keen to bow out with pride

Sports

By HENRY MORABANG
PAPUA New Guinea have one more challenge in their Under-20 World Cup to meet and it could well be their toughest as they face North Korea in their final match at the National Football Stadium on Sunday.
North Korea team have proven to be the superior footballers in group A, accounting for Sweden 2-0 last Sunday before surprising Brazil 4-2 on Wednesday.
PNG coach Lisa Cole said her side were looking forward to their last group match against North Korea, who are already assured a quarter-final berth.
“It is a learning experience for these young women to be at a World Cup,” Cole said.
“It’s something they will remember for their rest of their lives.”
Despite suffering a 0-9 thrashing by Brazil, followed by a 0-6 loss to Sweden, Cole remained positive and said her side would continue giving their best — because there was a lot of pride and fight in the squad.
“The girls will fight to their last breath when they take on the best team in group A — North Korea — on Sunday,” Cole said.
The American said her PNG side had already created their slice of local football history by being the first women’s soccer team to play at the  World Cup level.
She heaped praise on her players, whom she said were handling the pressure and expectation from their fans and the public well.
She said her players had so far put in their best against two of the best women’s football sides at this tournament and they had nothing to be ashamed of and had no regrets.
The silver lining to PNG’s performances were that they managed to reduce the losing margins from the first to the second games by three goals.
PNG could improve on their last two performances, especially with the stance taken by the North Koreans.
North Korea coach Hwang Yongbong said his side were well-placed heading into the match against PNG and indicated that he would give the other members of his squad an opportunity in this match.
“We have two victories in the group stage so far now so we think we are in a better position to make it all the way to the finals,” Yongbong said.
“We will rest our best team for the finals.
“We will give our substitutes a chance to play in our final game in the group stage against hosts Papua New Guinea.”

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