Venezuela's Veronica Herrera (left) and Sarah Stratigakis of Canada battle for the ball during their FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup quarterfinal at the Estadio Nacional on March 27, 2014, in San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Venezuela became the first team from South America to advance to the semifinals of a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup after defeating Canada 3-2 on Thursday at the Estadio Nacional.
Gabriella Garcia broke a 2-2 tie in the 62nd minute with her fourth goal of the tournament, giving the Venezuelans their fourth consecutive victory.
In an entertaining quarterfinal, Venezuela grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 6th minute. Garcia rambled into the left side of the box and passed to Deyna Castellanos in the middle, who beat goalkeeper Rylee Foster from eight-yards out.
Canada responded in determined fashion and went ahead 2-0.
In the 19th minute, Marie Levasseur made a strong run into the right side of the Venezuelan box and squared a ball that the unmarked Sarah Kinzer slotted home with her left foot for the equalizer.
The CONCACAF runner-up struck again in the 40th minute as Levasseur collected a through ball and raced into the right side of the box. Her seemingly tame effort from 12-yards out eluded goalkeeper Franyely Rodriguez to find the far-side netting.
Three minutes later, Yosneidy Zambrano was released down the right for a breakaway. After dribbling 30 yards, she blasted a shot over Foster’s right shoulder to make it 2-2.
Garcia netted the game-winner in the 62nd minute, fighting off a trio of Canadian defenders on the goal line and beating Foster at the right post from a sever angle.
NOTES: Four players on Canada’s roster are age-eligible for the next under-17 event in two years … Venezuela also defeated another CONCACAF team – host Costa Rica – earlier in the tournament, 3-0.