Canada have qualified for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 after finishing in third place at the CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship. Canada qualified after a 4:2 victory over Haiti on Sunday 13 March in St. George’s, Grenada.
This marks Canada’s fifth qualification for the biennial FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, which includes every edition since the competition was inaugurated in 2008. Canada joins USA and Mexico from the CONCACAF region at the 16-nation world finals.
“We learned so much more and it means so much more that we qualified this way,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer Women’s National U-17 Coach. “The learning experiences we’ve picked up along the way are so much more valuable. Now the girls can cherish the fact that they are going to the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.”
In the decisive Sunday match, Lauren Raimondo (two), Vital Kats, and Shana Flynn were the goal scorers for Canada, all in the second half. Canada built a 4-0 lead before Nerilia Mondesir scored a pair of late goals to cut the Canadian lead in half.
“I think we were very pumped for this match,” said goalscorer Raimondo. “We knew that we would give everything we could and we were going to come out and get so much hard work and passion. I have never met a group of girls so passionate in my life.”
Later this year, Canada will participate at both the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016.
Between 2014 and 2015, Canada were the only nation in the world to finish top-8 in three FIFA women’s competitions (sixth place at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, sixth place at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014, and eighth place at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014).
The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 runs 30 September to 21 October, with the 32 matches to be played at four stadiums in Amman, Ibid, and Al Zarqa.
Revenge was a dish best served for Canada on Sunday afternoon: in their second encounter in less than a week, Canada defeated Haiti 4:2 at the Grenada Athletic Stadium in St. George’s, GRN. So after Haiti won the group with a 2:1 win on 7 March, Canada won third place and a spot at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 with their 4:2 win on 13 March.
Lauren Raimondo (55′, 75′), Vital Kats (61′), and Shana Flynn (73′) were the goal scorers for Canada, enough to see the Canadians through despite a late flurry from Haiti’s Nerilia Mondesir (79′, 89′). Canada dominated with 68% possession and 24 shots, including 14 on target.
The breakthrough for Canada came in the 55th minute. Some good work from Stratigakis at the top of the box saw her make the space to send a ball down the left channel for Emma Regan to chase. Regan took the ball to the touchline and centred it to an onrushing Jordyn Huitema at the near post. She collided with the keeper which the left the ball spinning on the edge of the six yard and substitute Lauren Raimondo was quickest to react, running in from the penalty mark and smashing the ball into the bottom left.
Canada took further steps to ensure their qualification for Jordan 2016 just six minutes later, Vital Kats finishing off a sweeping team move. Regan started the ball moving forward at right back, passing it to Lauren Raimondo in the centre of the field. She turned and spotted Baalbaki advancing to the left, and the ball was moved through her to Huitema on the left wing. She cut in and took a shot that was only partially blocked and bobbled its way through to Kats who was following in for the rebound. Kats picked it up on the left side of the penalty box and very patiently waited for Theus to commit herself before flipping over the prone Haitian keeper, who still did well to get a toe to it and force it to nearly loop over.
The 73rd minute saw a goal from Shana Flynn and the Canadians all but guaranteed the best possible result. Lauren Raimondo was involved again as, placed in the centre of the field 35 yards from goal, she delicately flicked a ball down the left channel with the outside of her boot. Huitema gave chase and battled well, putting the ball through Emeline Charles’ legs before a challenge from Wagnelda Millen saw the ball bounce across the top of the six yard box. It was just out of the reach of Raimondo, who had rejoined the play, but Flynn was there at the back post to comfortably convert.
The game appeared to be decided beyond all doubt in the 75th as Lauren Raimondo completed her brace. A long ball from Proulx was flicked on and Huitema had the ball at her feet with oceans of space in front of her. She was able to drive towards the goal drawing the Haitian defenders to her and leaving Raimondo unmarked in the centre of the penalty box. Her pass just evaded the substitute, but Flynn was surging up the right side and collected the ball while Raimondo took up a position right in front of net. Flynn’s ball back across was simple enough for Raimondo to finish it first-time into the bottom left corner.
Haiti proved they were still able to fight for pride in the 79th minute, as Nerilia Mondesir ruined Canada’s clean sheet and cemented her claim as one of the top scorers in the tournament. A long ball from the back was knocked on by Lovelie Pierre. Mondesir was cutting across the box from left to right and took a nice touch to beat the onrushing Lysianne Proulx and end up on the right corner of the six yard box. With the goalkeeper out of net, but two Canadian defenders still in the way, Mondesir confidently finished the ball into the roof of the net.
Mondesir continued to torment the Canadian defence as she scored again in the 89th minute, providing a glimmer of hope for the Haitians and it was almost exactly the same as the last. Again a long ball came over the top and again it was flicked on for an onrushing Mondesir who had split the Canadian centre-backs. This time Proulx stayed in her goal, but Mondesir coolly rolled the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal with the outside of her right foot.