Canada’s history at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup has been somewhat of a roller-coaster experience. They hosted the initial tournament a decade ago where the home side were edged out in the final by neighbours USA. Canada were then quarter-finalists in 2004 with, as was the case two years earlier, the team producing several players for the senior side. There followed two group stage exits before a nadir was reached as Canada failed to qualify after a shock defeat at the hands of Costa Rica.
If 2011 was a year marked by huge disappointment following Canada’s early exit at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, then 2012 is already looking much brighter. Following a fine history of achievement at this level, which includes two CONCACAF titles, the class of 2012 showed some impressive form in reaching the world stage. Canada won all three group matches, including a narrow 1-0 win over Mexico, before a resounding victory against hosts Panama in the semi-final to book passage to Japan 2012. The Canadians then appeared set for an unprecedented third continental crown, only for USA to overturn Jenna Richardson’s early goal with two late strikes, including a last-gasp winner.
The spotlight is firmly on Canadian women’s football as hosts of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the U-20 version during the preceding year. The U-20 team’s impressive form during qualifying suggests reason for optimism. Coach Andrew Olivieri indicated after the qualifying tournament that his charges are heading in the right direction: “That is what we came here for - to get ourselves there (the final) so we can expose our players to the high-pressure environments we want them to be in.”
Facts and figures
Christine Sinclair (2002), Kara Lang, Brittany Timko (2002/2004), Sophie Schmidt (2004/2006), Jonelle Filigno (2008)
Christabel Oduro (forward), Shelina Zadorsky (midfield), Sabrina D’Angelo (goalkeeper)
4 – The number of times Canada has appeared at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, missing only Germany 2010.