Canada looks to dispatch Mexico, qualify for U-20 Women’s World Cup

Canada's Jordyn Huitema (left). (Chris Young/CP)

COUVA, Trinidad — Canada takes on Mexico in the semifinal of the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship on Friday with a berth in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup on the line.

The U.S., the four-time defending champions, play Haiti in the day’s first semifinal.

The top three finishers will advance to the world championship in August so Friday’s semifinal losers will have one more shot via the bronze-medal game.

The championship and third-place games go Sunday.

Canada and the U.S. won their respective preliminary-round groups with 3-0-0 records. The Canadian women beat Costa Rica 3-1, Trinidad & Tobago 4-1 and Haiti 4-0.

Mexico went 2-1-0, losing 2-1 to the Americans.

"I’ve been really happy with our attacking quality but I think going into the next game we’re clear that we’ve now got to take it up a notch," said Canadian head coach Bev Priestman.

"We’ve got to bring more for a tougher opponent," she added.

The two teams met at the same stage at the 2015 CONCACAF Championship with Canada winning 5-4 on penalties after the game finished in a 0-0 draw.

Canada’s Jordyn Huitema leads the 2018 tournament with five goals. Teammate Shana Flynn and Haiti’s Nerilia Mondesir have three each.

Host France, China, England, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Korea and Spain have already qualified for the 16-country U20 World Cup.

Canada has made it to six of seven editions of the U20 World Cup, hosting the event in 2002 and 2014. Its best showing was in 2002 when it was runner-up to the U.S., losing the final 1-0 after extra time.

The Canadian women made the quarter-finals in 2014, losing 2-0 to eventual champion Germany.

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