Canada put in a better performance than their 3-0 losing scoreline against Uruguay on opening day might suggest. Unfortunately, though, they will meet the English, who missed a raft of chances against Rwanda in the Group C curtain-raiser but still managed a confortable 2-0 win, in their second test.
Canada-England, Wednesday 22 June, Pachuca, 18.00 (local time)
England can do their chances of reaching the last 16 a world of good with another win against Canada. Hallam Hope, Raheem Sterling and Nicholas Powell looked a ferocious attacking trio in their opening win against the African first-timers. Even so, they failed to take advantage of numerous opportunities in front of goal. Hope, of Everton and team top scorer in the qualifying rounds, should have scored a hat-trick as his side hit the woodwork no fewer than three times. “We were better on the day,” was the frank assessment coach John Peacock, but the former Chelsea player will surely hope for more clinical finishing against the North Americans.
Canada, for their part, were lively against Uruguay, even though they lost 3-0. They created numerous chances and cast aside their national penchant for direct football in favour of a sharp possession game. “We were punished for not taking our chances, but we could have gotten something from that game,” said coach Sean Fleming who could not help but be pleased with the stylish performances put in by playmaker Keven Aleman, Michael Petrasso and Yassin Essa. Unfortunately, the Scottish-born coach will have to make do without outstanding goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau, who injured his knee in the opener and is expected to be out for two weeks.
0 – the number of points Canada have picked up in the history of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. If they build on the positive aspects from the Uruguay game, their time could well come against the English, who have never won a youth-level world title.
“We will take what was good from our first game, of which there were many things, and we will fix the problems that we had out on the pitch. Our spirits are still high and there’s a lot of football left to play,” Canada coach Sean Fleming.
“We played a good game against Rwanda, but we now need to focus a bit more against Canada, who are a good team. We will need to tighten things up a bit and focus on taking more of our chances,” England midfielder Raheem Sterling.