Mexico edge regional rivals Canada to set up Spain final
Mexico are headed to their first-ever FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup final after edging regional rivals Canada 1-0 in Montevideo thanks to a first-half penalty scored by captain Nicole Perez.
Mexico started the match on the front foot. In the 14th minute, after some patient build-up play, Natalia Mauleon collected the ball inside the penalty area before shooting a yard over the Canadian crossbar.
Just like in their semi-final at the CONCACAF Women's Under-17 Championship, Mexico took the lead. El Tri's star forward Alison Gonzalez was brought down in the penalty area by Canada centre-back Maya Antoine in the 24th minute. Perez converted the resulting spot-kick with a cool finish into the far corner, freezing the Canucks' keeper Anna Karpenko.
Canada thought they had equalised when Jordyn Huitema finished past Jaidy Gutierrez in the 39th minute, but referee Anastasia Pustovoitova whistled for a foul by Teni Akindoju on Tanna Carreto in the build-up.
Silvana Flores came close to giving Mexico a two-goal lead early in the second half but her 20-yard strike grazed the outside of Canada's post.
Head coach Monica Vergara's side did enough to hang on to their one-goal lead to book a place in Saturday's final against Spain. Mexico will be the first team from the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) to compete in a U-17 Women's World Cup final since USA in 2008.
Mexico's U-17s become the first Mexican team to reach the final of a Women's World Cup at any age level.
Canada will face New Zealand in the match for third place on Saturday before the final.