Brazil edged into the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup for the first time after beating Canada 2-0 at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella. Goals in each half from Paula and Thais see the South Americans progress behind group winners Republic of Ireland, with the North Americans eliminated from Group D alongside Ghana.
With both teams desperate for victory the two line-ups were largely unchanged, with Canada including two new faces in defender Yazmin Ongtengco and forward Zakiya McIntosh. Brazil, anxious to avoid a repetition of their first-round exit at New Zealand 2008, made just the one alteration introducing Paula, who had featured for just 23 minutes in the tournament to date.
The Brazilians tried an effort on goal from the kick-off but the audacious shot proved not to be a portent of things to come, with the first half a slow-tempo affair. Canada showed themselves at times to be dangerous on the counter-attack, most notably in the 18th minute, but Haisha Cantave was unable to provide the needed spark in front of goal. Brazil showed flashes of quality in attack with some accurate long passes and pinpoint crosses. It was from one such Roberta cross that they opened the scoring on 20 minutes, with Paula enjoying a large slice of luck as her shot bounced over goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo.
It proved to be one of the few openings of the match with both teams struggling to find a cutting edge in attack. The second half started in the worst possible fashion for the Canadians, who made a double change at the break, as Brazil went two ahead just six minutes after the restart through Thais. Getting on the end of a perfect pass from Glaucia, she made no mistake with her simple finish.
Jade Kovacevic had a chance to get Canada back into the game in the 54th minute, but she somehow couldn’t find the target after leaving three defenders for dead and rounding the keeper. It was a day that the Canadian frontline will want to forget. Charlene Achille had a good chance in the 73rd minute, but her shooting sights were misaligned as she fired wide of the mark.
As the game ground to a close, Brazil pushed forward half-heartedly and the scoreline was kept at 2-0 thanks to some fine saves from Canada’s outstanding goalkeeper D’Angelo. In the end, the Brazilians finish on six points in the section, tangled with the Irish but forced to settle for second place due to an inferior goal output. The South American champions will now face off with European toppers Spain in their quarter-final.