Mexico's Janae Gonzalez (left) attempts to hold off Maria Hurtado of Colombia in their FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup game at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto Scotiabank on March 16, 2014, in Alajuela, Costa Rica. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
ALAJUELA, Costa Rica – Mexico raced out to an early three-goal cushion en route to a 4-0 win over Colombia in both teams’ FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup opener at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto Scotiabank on Sunday.
Following Nigeria’s 2-1 defeat of China later in the day, the Mexicans top the Group D table on goal difference.
The CONCACAF champion wasted little time, going ahead in the opening minute with the fastest goal of the tournament through two matchdays. After Belen Cruz put a shot low and wide left, Viridiana Salazar intercepted goalkeeper Monica Florez’s ensuing goal kick and fired in from 35 yards for a 1-0 advantage.
Three minutes later, Jacqueline Crowther doubled the lead, bouncing a left-footed shot from 22 yards out past Florez off a short pass from Cruz.
In the 14th minute, with Florez off her line, Janae Gonzalez hammered a right-footed effort into the left-sided netting from 20-yards out to make it 3-0.
Crowther nearly added a second goal on 22 minutes, latching onto a Gonzalez free kick, but the forward put her attempt off the post.
Mexico added a fourth in the 71st minute. Cruz danced away from a pair of Colombian defenders in the right side of the penalty area and smartly played a ball to the top of the box, where midfielder Cinthia Huerta finished clinically. That goal helped to match the Tricolor’s largest margin of victory in its tournament history, initially set with a 4-0 triumph over South Africa in 2010.
Colombia tested Emily Alvarado twice in the first half. The Mexican goalkeeper first punched away a free kick and then parried away a follow-up attempt.
In the second half, Angie Ortiz tried to prevent the shutout only to see her free kick hit the woodwork.
Mexico next faces China, while Colombia meets Nigeria. Both games are Wednesday, also in Alajuela.