On Thursday, there’s more than a spot in the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup semifinals on the line for Canada’s women’s U-17 team, which features Whitecaps FC Girls Elite defenders Simmrin Dhaliwal and Rachel Jones.
As they get set to take on Venezuela, Canada will be hoping to become the first Canadian team to ever reach the semifinals of a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
- BROADCAST ALERT: Fans can watch Thursday’s Canada-Venezuela match live on all four Sportsnet regional channels at 1 p.m. PT.
Two years ago in Azerbaijan, Canada went out 2-1 to Korea DPR, while in 2008 Germany brought Canada’s tournament to an end in the quarterfinals of the inaugural tournament with a 3-1 result.
Ironically enough, both Korea and Germany were dispatched in the group stage of this year’s tournament, as Canada tied both of them before beating Ghana in the final game to advance alongside Ghana, who won Group B.
“Everyone’s super excited and so proud to represent our country and do so well. This is what we’ve always dreamed of achieving,” midfielder Sarah Kinzner said after the team trained on Tuesday. “Each game we just kept working and working so I think if we stick to the game plan we’ll continue to greatness.”
Canada has never played Venezuela at any level of the women’s game. After playing an Asian, European, and African team in the group stage, they’ll now get a chance to see what South America has to offer.
The mood was light on the team bus as they wrapped up a rousing training session. Still, with two days to go before a chance to make history, the excitement level can only grow higher.
“At the start of the tournament our goal was just to make it as far as we could,” said forward Marie-Mychèle Métivier. “We have a team spirit that we’re all together and now I think we’re capable of going even further.”
The team will get a look at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica on Wednesday in advance of Thursday’s game. And if Thursday goes well, they’ll make the drive back up to Liberia, Costa Rica on Friday to prepare for the semis.