Whitecaps FC & CONCACAF.com
Anakaren Llamas scored with a 40-meter free kick to give Mexico a 1-0 victory over Canada in Monday's final Group A match at the 2010 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship in Alajuela, Costa Rica.
The result means Canada finish as Group A runners-up and face a tough semifinal match-up versus arch-rivals and Group B winners United States on Thursday. The impressive Americans swept past their opposition 32-0 in three group matches. The Mexicans, meanwhile, meet tournament hosts Costa Rica in Thursday's other semifinal.
The two semifinal winners will qualify for this September's FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Trinidad & Tobago.
Bryan Rosenfeld's Canadian line-up included Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-18 Girls Prospects midfielder Nicole Setterlund, who served as team captain for a third straight match.
Llamas' goal in the 43rd minute came in a match where neither side produced many chances. Her right-footed free kick blast from near the touchline sailed over the outstretched arm of Canadian goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo and into the far upper corner of the net.
She nearly scored a second on a similarly duplicate chance in the 68th minute, but D'Angelo managed to push the second one over the crossbar and onto the top side of the net.
Both teams were already assured of berths in the semifinals, but due to a superior goal difference, Mexico only needed a draw to win the group and avoid the Americans.
Canada played without Whitecaps U-18 Girls Prospects defender Katherine Caverly, who had to leave Saturday's game against Panama in the 20th minute with what appeared to be a twisted knee.
The two teams played between the penalty areas for nearly the entire match, with both sides enjoying moments of dominant possession, but without creating much danger. Canada staged a late surge, but saw their best chance - a shot by Diamond Simpson - roll just wide of the right post in the 87th minute.
Mexico finished the group stage without allowing a single goal, while Canada have been goalless in their last 143 minutes of action, heading into Thursday's crucial showdown with the USA.