MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Canada stumbled Wednesday at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, thumped 5-0 by Spain in a battle for top spot in Group D.
The Canadian women (2-1-0) came into the game with a two-point advantage over Spain and knowing they had already qualified for the quarterfinals. Spain (2-0-1) started the day two points behind, in need of a win or tie to move into the knockout round.
The Spanish women met their target and then some with a dominant showing against a Canadian team that had not conceded a goal in its first two matches at the tournament.
Spain outshot Canada 21-8 (7-4 in shots on target), had nine corners to Canada’s two and finished with 64 per cent possession.
Canada coach Rhian Wilkinson called it a frustrating result.
"We knew it was going to be hard, we knew it was going to be hot," said Wilkinson. "Yes, there’s some lessons we’re going to bring forward and there’s some other stuff we’re going to leave behind because we’re already through to the quarterfinal and no matter what happens we’re going to face a really good team in the quarterfinal, so we’re ready for that."
Canada will face Germany on Sunday in the quarterfinals while Spain faces North Korea. The other quarterfinals pit Japan against New Zealand and Ghana against Mexico.
The Germans, runners-up to Spain in the European championship, beat the U.S. 4-0 later Wednesday to win Group C. North Korea downed Cameroon 2-1 to finish second.
Germany, North Korea, the U.S. and Cameroon all had three points going into the final round of Group C play.
Colombia tied South Korea 1-1 to finish third in Group D.
Twenty of Canada’s 21-woman roster saw action in the group phase.
Irene Lopez had two goals and Salma Celeste Paralluelo, Claudia Pina and Eva Maria Navarro added singles for the European champions, who led 3-0 after 25 minutes in the midday heat at the Estadio Charrua.
With Canada playing its third game in nine days, Wilkinson made five changes to her starting lineup with the introduction of goalkeeper Kayza Massey as well as Ariel Young, Teni Akindoju, Jazmine Wilkinson and Isabella Hanisch.
But it was one-way traffic early with Spain dominating play. The first-half goals came from some slick passing in the Canadian end with the Spaniards holding more than 60 per cent of possession in the first 30 minutes.
Canada, playing without suspended captain Jordyn Huitema, showed more life later in the half.
But Spain struck again in the 50th minute when Lopez, pouncing on a shot blocked by a Canadian defender, hammered a long-distance shot past Massey, who was not helped by a deflection.
Navarro made it 5-0 in the 71st minute, banging home a shot after a perfect Spanish pass split the Canadian defence.
Huitema, Canada’s star striker, was sent off in Canada’s 2-0 win over South Korea. Young served as skipper in Huitema’s absence.
Huitema, who has six goals in 15 appearances for Canada’s senior side, scored a goal in each of her first two matches at the tournament. The Canadians downed Colombia 3-0 in their opening match.
The Spaniards opened the European qualifiers with a 22-0 victory over Montenegro and went 4-0-1 in the final phase, defeating Germany 2-0 in the championship game. Spain conceded just two goals in 11 qualifying matches.
Uruguay marks Canada’s sixth appearance at the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The Canadian women finished seventh in 2008 (New Zealand) and 2012 (Azerbaijan) and eighth in 2014 (Costa Rica), failing to advance out of the quarterfinals in all three tournaments.
Canada was 10th in 2010 (Trinidad and Tobago) and ninth in 2016 (Jordan).
Spain was runner-up in 2014 and third in 2010 and 2016.