• Sunday Dec 13, 2015

    Mexico to dig deep for CU20W 3rd place match

    Players from Mexico (pictured) join together for strength for a penalty shootout in the CONCACAF Under-20 Women's Championship semifinal against Canada on December 11, 2015, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (Photo: Mexsport)

    SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – The pain was etched on their faces and there were even some tears. 

    Standing toe-to-toe for a grueling 120 minutes with the only team – up to that point -- to have won all of its 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship matches, Mexico walked off the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano pitch Friday after falling to Canada, 5-4 on penalty kicks. 

    The sides had battled heroically to a scoreless draw, but only one was going to come away with a place in the final and a berth to the next FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. 

    “It was a tough game and I'm very proud of the girls’ effort,” said Mexico head coach Roberto Medina. “Unfortunately, we reached penalty kicks, which is luck. Canada very much deserved it since they could convert.” 

    The Canadians were perfect on each of their attempts from the spot, while the Tricolor had its second saved before striking for three in a row. That’s all the separated the North Americans in a match that featured few outright scoring opportunities. 

    “The level was very even,” Medina continued. “We worked hard on the field. You could see the good tactics and the team fulfilled the technical and physical expectations.” 

    Thanks to the availability of an alternate route, Mexico can still qualify for Papua New Guinea 2016 with a win over host Honduras -- which lost 7-0 to the United States in the second semifinal -- in Sunday’s third place match. In their only previous CU20W meeting nearly two years ago, the Mexicans emerged a 10-1 winner. 

    “I think we have to work on both (tactical and mental) aspects,” Medina responded, when asked how he would approach the Honduran encounter after a difficult setback. “This was a blow because we have prepared very hard for this, but the team that is mentally strong. We will work hard on both aspects for the next game.” 

    If Mexico is to participate in a sixth consecutive U-20 Women’s World Cup, that – and possibly more, as evidenced by the semifinal – will be mandatory.

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