BATON ROUGE – Canada’s Under-20 squad kicked off its final group game Tuesday night needing a victory against North Korea to advance beyond the group stage at this year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, and that’s exactly what the host nation delivered with a 1-0 win to earn a spot in the knockout rounds beginning this weekend.
Janine Beckie’s goal in the 65th minute proved to be the only scoring of the match as Canada earned its spot in the quarterfinal round where it will face Group B winners Germany on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT in Edmonton, Alberta. Germany are an experience international side as two-time winners of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup while lifting the trophy in 2004 and 2010.
It proved to be the tightest group race at this year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup as Canada advanced as the second-place team in Group A with six points. Despite the defeat, North Korea also advanced as winners of Group A, while Ghana was eliminated on goal differential as it trailed in third place with six points of its own.
LSU’s All-SEC midfielder Emma Fletcher has played a key role in Canada’s advancement to the knockout rounds as she earned a start in each of her team’s three matches in group play over the past week.
A native of Victoria, British Columbia, Fletcher played 59 minutes in Tuesday’s victory over North Korea as she proved to be one of Canada’s brightest attacking talents in the match. She kicked off this year’s World Cup by playing 52 minutes in Canada’s 1-0 defeat to Ghana in its opening match of Group A on Aug. 5 before starting and playing the full 90 minutes in a 3-2 comeback victory over Finland on Friday.
LSU’s Class of 2014 defender recruit Jordane Carvery has yet to feature to this point of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup as she has been named among the substitutions for Andrew Olivieri’s side in each of the three group games. The Richmond Hill, Ontario, native is one of the youngest members of the side as one of Canada’s bright young talents in central defense.
All-SEC left back Megan Lee and Class of 2014 goalkeeper recruit Lily Alfeld will look to join their Tiger teammates in the quarterfinals of the tournament when they lead New Zealand’s defense against Costa Rica during their final match in Group D on Wednesday afternoon at 5 p.m. CT at the National Soccer Stadium in Toronto.
New Zealand enters its final group match in third place in Group D as it has posted three points thanks to a 2-0 opening win over Paraguay on Aug. 6. France tops the group with six points after winning each of its group games, while Paraguay’s three points currently pips New Zealand for second place on goal differential.
Chance! Fletcher holds off 2 defenders, crosses from right but neither Beckie nor Sanderson can redirect on goal. #canW20 0-0 PRK, 32’.— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) August 12, 2014