Saturday 12 March 2022, 23:00

USA top podium as Concacaf giants book Costa Rica tickets

  • Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship held from 25 February – 12 March

  • Three tickets for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2022™ were up for grabs

  • USA take the title, Mexico and Canada also qualify for Costa Rica

“It’s a complicated tournament because of the format, so there may be some surprises, but the favourites are Canada, the United States and Mexico, who are the top-ranked teams in this age group.“ Jose Catoya gave this assessment to ahead of the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship, and the coach of the host nation of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2022™ was certainly right on the money. USA took the title, finishing ahead of Mexico and Canada, and those three sides will be the Concacaf representatives in Costa Rica from 10 to 28 August.

Champions: USA

An early goal from striker Michelle Cooper followed by a second courtesy of midfielder Talia DellaPeruta gave USA a 2-0 half-time lead over Mexico in the final, and that was enough to see them through to victory. "I’m just so grateful as we’ve all sacrificed so much to be here," said Cooper after the game. "I’m really proud of my team-mates and we are all so happy to be coming away from here with gold." USA ended the tournament with seven wins from as many matches and a record of 49 goals scored, none conceded. Puerto Rico, Haiti, Suriname, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua were all swept aside with a minimum of fuss, and even the best that Mexico had to offer was not enough to get past goalkeeper Neeku Purcell in the final.

Runners-up: Mexico

Second-placed Mexico also had a great tournament, scoring 28 goals and conceding just three. In the group stage, they were unstoppable against Panama, Guyana and Honduras (defeating them by a combined score of 13-0), while in the knock-out phase of the tournament, they thrashed Curacao (9-0) and El Salvador (5-0). Come the semi-final against another one of the favourites, Canada, a single goal from Anette Vazquez was enough to see them into the final and qualify for the World Cup into the bargain.

Third place: Canada

The Canadians were untroubled in the group stage, defeating El Salvador, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago by an aggregate score of 16-0, and they took that form into the knock-out phase, winning the first three of those matches with clean sheets. Goalkeeper Anna Karpenko was finally beaten in the semi-final, but in the third-place play-off, Canada returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Puerto Rico.

Individual awards

Player of the tournament: Michelle Cooper (USA)

Top scorer: Michelle Cooper (USA)

Best goalkeeper: Anna Karpenko (Canada)

Fair Play Award: Mexico

#U20WWC line-up takes shape

Along with the Concacaf trio, defending champions Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic (all AFC), New Zealand (OFC), Spain, France, Germany, Netherlands (all UEFA) and hosts Costa Rica are the first 12 of the 16 nations to have made it through already.