ANGELA ASANTE / AIPS Young Reporters* / BAKU: CONCACAF lost its last chance of representation in the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup when Canada followed Mexico and the United States on to the flights home.

Among the Central and North American confederation’s three contenders, the Mexicans had the least impressive run with two defeats in the group stage. Their last encounter was a miserable 9-0 defeat to Japan; they scored only one goal and conceded 10.

The US also failed in the first round although the 2012 CONCACAF women’s titleholders remained unbeaten.  They opened their account with a goalless draw against France and went on to trounce Gambia 6-0 in their second match. However, a 1-1 draw against first semi-finalists North Korea was not enough to see the Americans through. Goal difference betrayed them.

Canada’s campaign stretched beyond both those of the US and Mexico. Led by influential forward Summer Clarke, they qualified for the quarter-finals undefeated. In the 8KM Stadium, however, two strikes from North Korea’s Ri Un Sim ended the Canadians’ dream of lifting the 2012 U-17 Cup title in Azerbaijan.

“It’s always nice to advance out of the group stage,” said coach Bryan Rosenfeld in congratulating his players for achieving what those of Mexico and the US could not, “but as soon as you do so, you are going to face some very strong competition.”

Too strong in this case.

= = =

** AIPS, the international sports media association, is running a Young Reporters course at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup with the co-operation of FIFA and supported by the Azeri Ministry of Youth & Sport

= = = =