Mexico, USA book tickets to France 2018

26 Jan 2018
  • Mexico and USA book tickets to FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup France 2018

  • USA beat Haiti 3-0 on penalties after Haiti scored dramatic, stoppage-time equaliser

  • Mexico defeated Canada 4-3 on penalties after Canada scored late goal

After a thrilling day of penalty shoot-out drama, Mexico and USA advanced to the CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship 2018 final and booked their tickets to the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup France 2018.

In the first semi-final, defending regional champions USA defeated Haiti 3-0 on penalties, after the match was all square at 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Midfielder Jaelin Howell scored the opening goal in the 75th minute only for Haiti captain Nerilia Mondesir to find the equaliser with a remarkable effort off her knee in stoppage time to send the game to penalties. USA were able to regroup mentally and swept Haiti aside 3-0 in the shoot-out thanks largely to a superb performance in goal by Amanda McGlynn to book an eighth consecutive trip to the CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship final.

There was a sense of déjà vu about the second semi-final, as Mexico edged Canada 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out after the match also finished 1-1 after another late goal.

Mexico’s Jimena Lopez Fuentes opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a left-footed, curling free-kick from about 20 yards out. Canada then found an equaliser thanks to captain Gabrielle Carle. After Mexico failed to clear the danger in their penalty area after a Canada attack, Julia Grosso passed to Carle who poked in a shot from close range.

Mexico then had two chances late on to win the game, too. Substitute Venicia Juarez Smith had her effort tipped on to the crossbar before Belen Cruz Arzate had her penalty saved by Canada goalkeeper Rylee Foster after she was tugged down in the penalty area by Emma Regan. Foster's save gave Canada a lifeline by sending the semi-final to penalties, but it was Mexico who triumphed 4-3, with Juarez scoring the winning goal.

Mexico and USA will play in the final on Sunday, while Haiti and Canada will contest the match for third place, where the region's last spot at France 2018 will be up for grabs.