Canada has been drawn in a group with France, Nigeria and South Korea at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica this summer.
The 16-team tournament runs Aug. 10-28 with games in San Jose and Alajuela.
Canada was the last team picked at the draw, held at the Teatro Nacional with Costa Rican football icons Shirley Cruz and Paulo Cesar Wanchope as draw assistants.
Group C will be challenging for Canada. France finished fourth, second and third at the last three editions of the FIFA championship and defeated Germany in the final of the 2019 European Women’s Under-19 Championship.
Nigeria, runner-up in 2010 and 2014, has advanced to the knockout rounds in seven of its nine trips to the tournament. South Korea was third in 2010 and has made the quarterfinals on two of its four other visits to the championship.
The Canadian women qualified in March when they beat Puerto Rico 2-0 in the third-place game at the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship in the Dominican Republic.
The Canadian women lost their first crack at qualifying for the World Cup when they were beaten 1-0 by Mexico in the CONCACAF semifinal. But they made no mistake in the third-place game, securing the last spot available.
Canada had outscored its opposition 30-0 in winning five straight at the tournament prior to running into the Mexicans.
Canada’s Anna Karpenko was named top goalkeeper at the tournament.
The U.S. retained its CONCACAF title with a 2-0 win over Mexico in a battle of 6-0-0 teams in the championship game.
The 16 qualified teams were allocated to four pots of four teams each, based on a ranking created according to past sporting performance, for Thursday’s World Cup draw. The Canadians were in Pot 4 along with Australia, Colombia and the Netherlands.
Pot 1 included host Costa Rica and the three highest seeds – Germany, Japan and France.
Group A includes Costa Rica, Australia, Spain and Brazil while Group B is made up of Germany, Colombia, New Zealand and Mexico. Group D features Japan, the Netherlands, Ghana and the U.S.
Costa Rica was originally slated to co-host the event in 2020 along with Panama. The tournament was postponed due to the pandemic with Costa Rica taking over as sole host.
The Canadian team is coached by coach Cindy Tye, a former Canadian international who doubles as coach of the Dalhousie women’s team.
Canada has qualified for seven of the nine previous editions of the FIFA U-20 World Cup, finishing runner-up in 2002 when a Canadian team featuring a young Christine Sinclair lost to the U.S. in sudden-death extra time before 47,784 at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium.
That inaugural event was competed at the U-19 level with the event subsequently switching to U-20. The Canadian women failed to qualify for the 2018 U-20 World Cup in France and did not get out of the group stage in 2016 in Papua New Guinea.
Canada hosted the event in 2014, losing to Germany in the quarterfinals.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2022.