Canada’s attempt to qualify for a third straight International Soccer Federation (FIFA) Under-17 World Cup finals was thwarted by Costa Rica last weekend.
The boys’ national youth side fell 3-0 in the contest they had to win to secure a spot in this year’s finals in Chile.
“It’s a great learning moment for our kids and our program,” said head coach Sean Fleming after the match last Sunday in Honduras. “But we created chances which I was happy about. But why didn’t we finish? It’s one of those things. We had several chances to shoot in the first half, but for whatever reason, we started passing instead of shooting the ball.”
Canada started the Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) qualifier with four straight wins. However, they dropped their last two games with a World Cup berth on the line.
“I am very disappointed obviously,” said Fleming. “It’s more the goals we gave up that were easily avoidable. I give credit to our kids though. I am so proud of them. They stayed to the task for the whole 90 minutes and it’s soccer.”
The United States booked a spot in the finals with a dramatic 5-4 win over Jamaica in a six-round penalty shootout, while Mexico won its seventh regional title with a 3-0 shutout victory over Honduras, which also advanced to the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal will be Africa’s representatives in this year’s FIFA Under-20 men’s tournament in New Zealand. They are the four semi-finalists in the regional tournament that ends this weekend.
Ghana faced Nigeria yesterday in the first semi-final while Mali meets Senegal today.
“The four teams have shown quality and they can go as far as winning the World Cup,” said Ghanaian coach, Sellas Tetteh.
The Under-20 World Cup takes place from May 30 to June 20.