Soccer: Junior Ferns suffer more heartbreak in Chile

New Zealand battled every inch of the way only to miss out by barely a minute on a quarterfinal berth at the women's under-20 soccer World Cup in Santiago today.

After defending a first half 1-0 lead over England until the 94th minute, the Junior Football Ferns were destroyed when a late strike from midfielder Toni Duggan beat New Zealand keeper Charlotte Wood to tie the game 1-1.

New Zealand went into their final pool play match against England needing a win to make the quarterfinals, after suffering an injury-time 2-3 loss to Nigeria before beating hosts Chile 4-3 on Sunday.

In contrast, England needed only a draw to make the knockout round, and went through in the last minute of injury time courtesy of Duggan's cool head.

Down to 10 players after captain Katie Hoyle was sent off in the 70th minute after receiving a second yellow card in the match, the Junior Ferns were increasingly put under the hammer by the more favoured English.

New Zealand's cause hadn't been helped by the suspension of influential midfielder Ria Percival - serving a one-match ban for being sent off in the Chile match also after receiving two yellow cards.

The New Zealanders worked hard to repel wave after wave of attacks and some desperate defence held out a series of England corners late in the second half.

England's Natasha Dowie was perhaps the most unlucky as her header from a Claire Rafferty corner beat Wood only to rocket off the crossbar.

Earlier, the New Zealanders challenged well and were rewarded midway through the first half when Hamilton's Sarah McLaughlin was allowed too much space - and time - just outside the box.

The seventeen-year-old unleashed a powerful strike which whistled past England keeper Rebecca Spencer to put New Zealanders in the lead after 27 minutes.

The second half saw the New Zealanders under constant pressure, especially after England coach Mo Marley replaced Brooke Chaplen with Rachel Williams.

The New Zealanders fought hard but five minutes of added injury time proved one minute too much.

- NZPA

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