CONCACAF representatives to be determined this week
The final two CONCACAF representatives for the inaugural FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championship will be decided this week on Trinidad & Tobago, when eight teams battle for the right to join the host nation in the finals in Canada from 17 August – 1 September 2002.
Two separate round-robins will be held, one on each island, with the winner of each group advancing to the FIFA World Championship. Group A, being played at Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar, Trinidad, consists of Mexico, Jamaica, Panama and the host country of Trinidad & Tobago. Group B, competing at Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago, is comprised of Costa Rica, Haiti, Suriname and USA.
Group A could be the tighter of the two groups, especially among the two Caribbean countries. Jamaica won their qualifying group in December on goal difference – a group which also included T&T, using the matches as preparation. Neither the Reggae Girlz nor the Soca Princesses allowed a goal in their matches – even when they played to a scoreless draw.
Panama surprisingly qualified after finishing second in the Central American elimination tournament on home soil, losing only to Costa Rica, while Mexico coach Leonardo Cuellar is pointing to the two Caribbean rivals as the important matches in his group.
The USA is the favorite in Group B, with a rich pedigree of women’s football as two-time World Champion. But they will face three teams that won qualifying groups in dominating fashion, each sailing through without losing a match.
Haiti won their Caribbean qualifying group at home without allowing a goal, while Suriname posted a +20 goal difference in winning their group on Antigua. Costa Rica won the Central American Zone championship while allowing just one goal and a +22 goal difference.