Canada will face Haiti on Sunday in a must-win match to secure a spot at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 after drawing Mexico 1-1 but falling 4-3 on penalty kicks in the semifinal match of the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship in Trinidad and Tobago. Mexico qualified for France 2018 with the win, and the USA has also qualified after beating Haiti in penalty kicks in their semifinal earlier today. The 2018 edition of the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship is the first time both teams have qualified through the semifinal on penalty kicks.
Mexico struck first scoring off a set play just outside Canada’s box in the 34th minute. Canada rallied and tied it up 1-1 in the 80th minute on a Huitema cross tapped in by Captain Gabby Carle. Canada’s keeper Rylee Foster stood on her head in the last few minutes of the game, making two big saves before stopping a penalty kick in extra time.
The semi-final went straight to a penalty shoot-out without an overtime period. Canada and Mexico both scored on the first two shots, Canada scored on the third and Mexico went wide to make it 3-2, but Mexico’s keeper earned her player of the match honours by saving Canada’s next two shots, while her team scored on both their efforts to give Mexico the 4-3 win.
“We are disappointed in the loss and particularly the nature of penalty kicks, but this group has shown incredible resilience and determination throughout the tournament, so I am confident we will rally to the task ahead on Sunday,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer Women’s U-20 head coach and women’s national EXCEL director U-15 to U-23. “Our goal coming into this tournament was to qualify for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, so all of our energy is focused on that and coming out on top against Haiti on Sunday. We’ve had the opportunity to play Haiti in the group stage and we know their strengths, so we are prepared for the challenge, but we are also prepared to put everything on the line to earn our spot in France.”
Canada’s match against Haiti will take place Sunday, January 28 at 12 p.m. PT, available in Canada LIVE via CONCACAF at youtube.com/concacaf.