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Canadian women qualify for CONCACAF Under-20 Championship with win over El Salvador

Top 3 teams from CONCACAF U-20 will go on to next year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup
Olivia Smith scores from a free kick in Canada’s 9-1 win over El Salvador to qualify for the 2023 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship in this Saturday, April 22, 2023 handout photo in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Canada Soccer

Canada thumped El Salvador 9-1 Saturday (April 22) to comfortably win its qualifying group and book its ticket to the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship.

Canada and El Salvador had both won their three previous games ahead of Saturday’s decider in the CONCACAF U-20 qualifying tournament. But the Canadians, with a goal difference of plus-31 compared to plus-13 for the Central Americans, needed just a draw to win the group and make the full tournament field.

The 32 teams at the qualifying event have been split into six groups for round-robin play. The group winners move on to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship May 24 to June 3 in the Dominican Republic, joining the pre-qualified U.S. and Mexico.

The Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Panama and Puerto Rico have already qualified.

“A great camp from start to finish here and our first four games together,” said Canadian coach Cindy Tye. “We grew through every game, obviously preparing for the next stage for us.”

Olivia Smith, Kayla Briggs, Amanda Allen and Annabelle Chukwu each scored twice for Canada, with Florianna Jourde adding a single. Faith Fenwick was in goal for the Canadians.

Elizabeth Johannes scored for El Salvador.

The top three teams at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship will represent North and Central America and the Caribbean at next year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

Saturday’s game was delayed 2 1/2 hours and moved to Felix Sanchez Stadium in Santo Domingo due to inclement weather affecting Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal.

“I think a couple of our foundations are resiliency and adaptability,” said Tye. “The kids just dealt with it and it was on to the next field and next time, just like this was our time. There really wasn’t much to adjust for us.”

Canada outscored its opposition 40-1 in four games. The Canadians opened play with a 15-0 win over Martinique before downing St. Vincent and the Grenadines 12-0 and Cuba 4-0.

Canada has qualified for eight of the 10 previous FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups, finishing runner-up to the U.S. in 2002 when Canada hosted the event.

The Canadian Press

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