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Canada draws Guatemala 0-0 in group play at CONCACAF U-20 Championship

SAN CRISTOBAL, Dominican Republic — Canada and Guatemala played to a 0-0 draw Monday at the CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Championship.

The result drops Canada (1-0-1) into second place behind Jamaica (1-0-1) in Group E on goal difference. The two teams will face off Wednesday with first place in the group likely on the line.

Monday's result did assure Canada of moving on to the knockout round whatever happens Wednesday. The top three teams from each of the four groups move on, joining four pre-qualified teams in the round of 16.

The winner of Canada's group will face Bermuda in the round of 16.

After group play, the tournament switches to elimination mode with Canada needing to win round-of-16, quarterfinal and semifinal matches to reach the World Cup.

Canada is one of 20 CONCACAF countries in search of two berths at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in August. There will be four CONCACAF countries in all at the FIFA championship with Costa Rica and Panama serving as co-hosts.

Canada opened the tournament Saturday with a 2-0 win over El Salvador. Guatemala tied Jamaica 4-4 in the earlier game Saturday.

Jamaica downed El Salvador 3-1 in the earlier game Monday at the Estadio Panamericano.

Canada coach Rhian Wilkinson, whose team will play seven games in 15 days if it makes it to the final, made nine changes to her starting lineup with only Jade Rose and Mya Jones retaining their places. Marika Guay captained the team in Tanya Boychuk's absence.

The lineup included defender Molly Quarry, daughter of former Canadian men's team manager and GM Morgan Quarry. 

Like El Salvador before it, Guatemala proved to be a tough opponent with temperatures in the high 20s Celsius. Both teams had good scoring chances in a first half that saw Canada outshoot Guatemala 7-6, with the Central Americans holding a 6-4 edge in shots on target.

Guatemala came close in the ninth minute with goalkeeper Kayza Massey making a good save off a free kick from just outside the penalty box. It was Canada's turn in the 20th minute with a diving Ashley Avalos getting a hand to Maya Ladhani's powerful free kick from distance.

Massey tipped a Marcela Anzueto free kick off the crossbar in the 43rd minute. A Canadian shot went just wide in first half-stoppage time.

The second half was also close but with fewer clear-cut scoring chances. What chances there were went to Canada with substitute Kaila Novak firing wide from a tight angle in the 70th minute.

Camada outshot Guatemala 11-7 (8-6 in shots on target) over the 90 minutes.

Canada will likely have to go through the Americans to qualify. Canada is seeded third at the CONCACAF tournament and will face the Americans if they finish first or third in Group C (which includes Cuba, Dominican Republic and Honduras).

Canada has qualified for seven of the nine previous FIFA U-20 World Cups, reaching the quarterfinals in 2004 and 2014 and losing to the U.S. in the final of the inaugural 2002 tournament (when it was under-19) on home soil.

It failed to qualify in 2018, losing to Mexico in a semifinal penalty shootout and then 1-0 to Haiti in third-place game.

Canada won the 2004 and 2008 CONCACAF championships and finished runner-up in 2006, 2012 and 2015.

 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2020.

The Canadian Press