Jessie Fleming (center) and teammates celebrate after Canada defeated Finland in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup at the National Soccer Stadium on August 8, 2014 in Toronto. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
TORONTO – Canada scored three goals after halftime to rally from an early two-goal deficit and beat Finland, 3-2, in a FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Group A match at the National Soccer Stadium (BMO Field) on Friday night.
The win gives the tournament host, which fell to Ghana (1-0) in its opener, a lifeline heading into the final day of the Group Stage on Tuesday.
The Canadians (3 points) will meet group-leading Korea DPR (6 points) at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, while Finland (0 points) will face Ghana (3 points) in Moncton.
After getting Finland off to a dream start with a third-minute goal, Juliette Kemppi capitalized on a poor clearance attempt to put the Fins in front, 2-0. The forward took the ball off her chest and deposited it into the side netting from 19 yards in the 21st minute.
Canada head coach Andrew Olivieri made a double substitution at halftime, bringing on Janine Beckie and Valerie Sanderson. Both moves paid immediate dividends.
In the 48th minute, Beckie latched onto Ashley Lawrence’s service at the back post, flicking a header off Finland defender Natalie Kuikka and into the net to pull Canada within a goal.
Two minutes later, Nichelle Prince expertly cut a ball back into the area, where Sanderson fired home the equalizer.
Prince capped the stirring comeback with the winner in the 80th minute, when the forward easily tapped in from inside the six-yard box after Beckie’s initial shot was saved by goalkeeper Vera Varis.
Canada midfielder Jessie Fleming, a member of the senior national team at only 16-years-old, was particularly influential throughout the game.
In the first half, she crashed an attempt off the crossbar and, in the 52nd minute, saw her lob parried over the bar by Varis for a corner
The Golden Ball winner at the 2013 CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship also put a low shot from the top of the 18-yard box off Varis’ hand in the 27th minute.