Canada and Rwanda will both be desperate for points and goals when they meet at the bottom of the Group C table in their final match in Pachuca on Saturday. The Canadians picked up their first point in a draw with England on Wednesday while Rwanda were denied theirs in dramatic fashion against Uruguay at the Estadio Hidalgo.
Canada-Rwanda, Saturday 25 June, Pachuca, 15:00 (local time)
Known typically for a physical, aerial approach, Canada have been a breath of fresh air at these finals in Mexico, playing a stylish possession game that revolves around their outstanding No10 Keven Aleman. After losing out to a complicated, counter-attacking Uruguay in their first match, the Canadians responded with a tough fight against England, twice coming from behind to draw 2-2 for their first point in the history of the U-17 finals. The final goal came from an unlikely source: Goalkeeper Quillan Roberts, who replaced injured No1 Maxime Crepeau in the first game. “We’re ready for this last game and we’re going to do what he have to do to give ourselves a chance,” said head coach Sean Fleming.
Rwanda were gutted when, five minutes into extra time in their last game, Uruguay struck to deny them a point. It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Africans, who are competing in their first FIFA finals. Even so, the team were much improved from their 2-0 loss on opening day to England and are mathematically still alive, though with a very slim chance of moving on to the knockout rounds. “We are still alive,” was the assessment of their coach Richard Tardy. “We will give everything in this last game.” All will be on the line in Pachuca, and the likes of captain Emery Bayisenge and creator Andrew Buteera will be eager to at least get a first-ever goal or point in the world of global football.
1 - The number of goals scored by a goalkeeper at any FIFA world finals. Roberts was surely not thinking he would score when he hoofed the ball up the field from well inside his own half in the 87th minute against Uruguay, but that’s exactly what happened.
“The players can celebrate their draw against England for a little while, but then we need to focus on our next test against Rwanda. Four points will give us a very good chance of moving on and that’s what we’ll be aiming for when we play Rwanda,” Canada coach Sean Fleming.
“We are still alive and we will fight to the end against Canada. The fans in Pachuca have supported us brilliantly and we want to repay them for their faith. We are aiming for goals, a win and a place in the next round hopefully,” Rwanda midfielder Andrew Buteera.