MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – After securing a ticket to the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup with a semifinal win over Jamaica, Canada is now looking to bring some silverware home, when its faces Mexico in the CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship final.
The North American powers will meet on Saturday at Catherine Hall Stadium with regional superiority at stake. Canada lifted the trophy once in 2010, defeating Mexico, 1-0, in the curtain closer. A win by the Tricolor will see it complete the tournament as champion for the first-ever time.
Team captain Jessie Fleming -- one the outstanding performers in Montego Bay -- is excited that the Canadians have earned the opportunity, but maintains a business-like approach.
“Mexico is definitely a good team,” said the talented 15-year-old midfielder. “We are going to treat it like any other final game.”
Over the 12 days of play, Canada has proven to be a good team as well. It has racked up 24 goals in four games and conceded only two, both in a 2-0 loss to the United States in the last Group B game.
Defenses have found containing the Canadians’ potent attack to be a challenge and that is an understatement. Forward Marie-Mychele Metivier is the tournament’s top scorer with six tallies, having the unusual distinction of netting her team’s first goal in each of its three wins. Emily Borgmann and Marie Levasseur have struck five times each.
Canada head coach Beverly Priestman constructed a well-balanced side that has strength and depth at every position. She is looking forward to the final.
“It would be fantastic,” said Priestman, when asked what it would mean for Canada to win the title. “I think the girls deserve it. There’s some really good players in this group and I think that would be a stepping stone in their long-term careers.”
In Mexico, Canada tackles an opponent that outlasted the United States 4-2 on penalty kicks, following a strategically fascinating 1-1 draw in their semifinal encounter.
“Against Mexico, from what we’ve seen, they set-up a block against the U.S.,” Priestman noted. “I do expect them to come out and press. I think they’ve got some real individual players, who are skillful on the ball, so defensively we have to be on our game to stop them.”
Canada is the only team from CONCACAF to qualify for every edition of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.