BATON ROUGE – LSU’s All-SEC midfielder Emma Fletcher earned her second start in as many games and played the full 90 minutes for Canada as the host nation scored a thrilling 3-2 comeback victory over Finland in Toronto on Friday night to earn its first win in group play at the 2014 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup that continues this week.
Fletcher started the match on the right wing as she did in Canada’s debut game against Ghana last Tuesday, but featured across the midfield in a 3-2 win as Canada moved into second place in Group A.
Canada faced a 2-0 deficit just 21 minutes into the match as Finland’s Juliette Kemppi put the visitors on top with a two goals in the third minute and 21st minute of the first half. But the host nation stormed back after the break to collect all three points as substitutes Janine Beckie and Valerie Sanderson leveled the score just two minutes apart and Nichelle Prince scored the winner in the 80th minute in Canada’s 3-2 victory.
The win moved Canada into second place in Group A with three points as the hosts hold the second spot over Ghana on goal differential. North Korea has won both of its matches and tops the group with six points.
Canada will face North Korea in its final group match at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec, on Tuesday with kickoff set for 6 p.m. CT. A victory over the Group A leaders could earn the Canadians a berth into the quarterfinal round that will be held on Saturday and Sunday to kick off the knockout rounds.
LSU’s All-SEC left back Megan Lee and Class of 2014 goalkeeper recruit Lily Alfeld led New Zealand onto the field at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal for its second group game against France on Saturday afternoon, but the Junior Football Ferns slipped to third place in Group D with a 4-0 defeat to the French after opening their tournament with a comprehensive 2-0 win over Paraguay last week.
New Zealand finds itself in third place in the group as it trails Paraguay on goal differential, but will look to bounce back against winless Costa Rica in Toronto on Wednesday with a win likely sealing a place in the event’s quarterfinals at the weekend. Kickoff for its match against Costa Rica is scheduled for 4 p.m. CT on Wednesday afternoon.