South Korea’s Casey Phair becomes youngest player in Women’s World Cup

South Korea’s Casey Phair controls the ball during the Women’s World Cup Group H soccer match between Colombia and South Korea at the Sydney Football Stadium on Tuesday—AP

US-born Casey Phair made history as the youngest-ever player to appear in the Women’s World Cup, achieving this milestone just 26 days after celebrating her 16th birthday. 

Phair, a forward for South Korea, entered the field as a substitute in the 78th minute during the team’s 2-0 loss to Colombia in Sydney. Her achievement surpassed the previous record set by Nigeria’s Ifeanyi Chiejine, who was 16 years and 34 days old during the 1999 Women’s World Cup.

The Group H match not only witnessed Phair’s record-breaking performance but also marked another milestone as it created the biggest age gap between teammates in Women’s World Cup history. With 22 years and 256 days between Phair and South Korean goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi, the age difference stands as an impressive distinction in the prestigious tournament, as reported by FIFA.

Phair’s selection for the Korean World Cup squad is of particular significance as she is the first player of mixed heritage to be chosen. South Korea’s coach, Colin Bell, emphasised the importance of protecting the young talent from the intense scrutiny of the public eye following her announcement.

Looking ahead, South Korea will face Morocco in their upcoming match in Adelaide on Sunday. The young forward’s performance has captured the attention of football fans worldwide, and her presence in the tournament adds to the diversity and talent on display in the Women’s World Cup.

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