Canada Soccer’s Women’s U-17 team have earned a Semi-final berth at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018 for the first time in program history. Canada defeated Germany 1:0 in the Quarter-final at Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo on a goal by Jordyn Huitema (83’). It was Canada’s first win in a FIFA women’s youth tournament knockout match since 2002.
“To be at the helm of this young team is just a privilege,” said Rhian Wilkinson, Canada Soccer’s Women’s U-17 Head Coach. “Canada are a world-class team that can handle all types of formats and physical play. Our players really showed who they were today against a very strong German team.”
Canada will face Mexico in the Semi-final with a place in the 1 December Final in Montevideo on the line. The two teams met in the Semi-final of the 2018 Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship with the Mexicans defeating Canada 2:1 to qualify for Uruguay 2018 before falling in the Final to the United States 3:2. Canada went on to defeat Haiti in the Match for Third Place to earn their place in Uruguay 2018.
The Canada-Mexico Semi-final kicks off at 19.00 local (17.00 ET / 14.00 PT) on Wednesday 28 November. It will mark the first-ever encounter between the two Concacaf nations at a FIFA women’s youth tournament. Mexico earned their place in the Semi-final after defeating Ghana 2:2 (4:2 on PK) in the earlier match on 25 November.
Canada defended well and had the majority of possession of the first half but were unable to create a quality scoring chance. Lara Kazadjian had the only threatening opportunity with her shot from 20 yards just over the bar.
The second half started with sustained pressure from the Germans, but Canada’s strong play in the back and through the midfied continued to keep Germany at bay. Jordyn Huitema nearly had a wide-open chance at goal in the 60’ but the ball got stuck in her feet on the feed from Andersen Williams. Almost immediately after, Germany had a counter attack that Vallerand came across to clear. On the ensuing corner, Germany nearly broke through but landed a header on top of Karpenko’s net.
Huitema broke through again and forced a save from the German goalkeeper Wiebke Willebrandt in the 71’. Balata had a chance on the ensuing scramble to clear the ball, but, her touch was heavy and went out for a goal kick.
Germany pinned Canada into their own third with a series of corner kicks won through the 79’, but they would soon break through off a long run from Caitlin Shaw during which she split three German defenders. Shaw’s run led to a brilliant ball onto the strong left foot of Kaila Novak whose first touch cross into the box and run of Jordyn Huitema (83’) was buried into the German net to put Canada ahead 1:0.
Of note, Huitema became just the third Canadian player to score in four different FIFA women’s youth matches, joining the elite company of Christine Sinclair and Brittany Timko.
“We are on the right path and it is the result of the great development that is happening across Canada and the investment by Canada Soccer,” said Kenneth Heiner-Møller, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team Head Coach and Women’s EXCEL Program Director. “It is a big congratulations to all the coaches in Canada and everyone who has helped teach these girls.”
Canada coach Rhian Wilkinson started Anna Karpenko in goal, Jayde Riviere at right back, Maya Antoine and Jade Rose at centre back, Julianne Vallerand at left back, Caitlin Shaw, Kaila Novak, Lara Kazandjian, Wayny Balata, Andersen Williams, and Captain Jordyn Huitema from midfield through attack.
Wilkinson replaced Williams with Jessica De Filippo (75’), Shaw with Ariel Young (90’), and Rose with Sonia Walk (90’+).
Since 2013, Canada Soccer’s investment in the Women’s EXCEL program and Regional EXCEL Centres has graduated 18 players to the Women’s National Team. Alongside the investment in player development, Canada Soccer’s Elite Player Elite Coach program launched in 2016 highlights the development of player-turned-coach Rhian Wilkinson, who has now led Canada to their first-ever Semi-final at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Having reached the Semi-final, this will be Canada’s highest finish in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. Canada has placed in the top ten participating nations in each edition of the tournament, but, had previously reached a highest position of seventh in New Zealand 2008 and Azerbaijan 2012. Canada placed tenth at Trinidad and Tobago 2010, eighth at Costa Rica 2014, and ninth in Jordan 2016.
Canada marks the 10-year anniversary of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup as one of only six nations to have qualified for every edition since it was launched in 2008, alongside Germany, Ghana, Japan, New Zealand and Korea DPR.
FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018
- The official slogan for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup is Same Game Same Emotion. (A slogan to unite the generations).
- The tournament’s four groups are Group A: Uruguay, Ghana, New Zealand, Finland; Group B: Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, Japan; Group C: USA, Cameroon, Korea DPR, Germany; and, Group D: Korea Republic, Spain, Canada, Colombia.
- A total of 32 matches, across four groups containing 16 teams, will be played to decide the winner of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018.
- Korea DPR are the reigning champions of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and the tournament’s most successful competitor with two titles (2008, 2016). Japan (2014), South Korea (2010), and France (2012) have also raised the coveted youth trophy as the world’s top U-17 women’s team. Korea DPR was also the runner-up in 2012 and Japan was the runner-up in both 2010 and 2016.
- Spain, whom Canada will play in its final group stage match, were runners-up in 2014 and third place winners in 2010 and 2016.
- A total of 32 nations have competed in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup since it started in 2008.