Canada loses to New Zealand, misses out on bronze at FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Canada, victimized by two early goals, had to settle for fourth place at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup after a 2-1 loss to New Zealand on Saturday.

The Canadian women found themselves down just 15 seconds after the opening kickoff with New Zealand’s Grace Wisnewski erasing the tournament record of 22 seconds for fastest goal, set by Nigeria’s Soo Adekwagh in 2008.

Wisnewski also scored in the 13th minute as the Canadians dug themselves a deep hole.

Lara Kazandjian threw Canada a lifeline in the 64th minute with a sweet left-footed strike from outside the penalty box after New Zealand failed to clear its lines.

Canada kept pressing for the equalizer but New Zealand held tight through five minutes of extra time.

Still, the fourth-place finish was Canada’s best ever at the U-17 world championship. Canada’s previous best was seventh in 2008 and 2012.

And it ranks as Canada’s second-best showing at a FIFA championship, matching the fourth place that U-17 coach Rhian Wilkinson was part of as a player at the 2003 Women’s World Cup.

The only Canadian team to do better — male or female — is the 2002 squad, featuring a 19-year-old Christine Sinclair, that finished runner-up to the U.S. at the U-19 Women’s World Championship on Canadian soil.

New Zealand also finished a record high, having previously never made it past the U-17 group phase.

Spain played Mexico for the championship game later Saturday at Estadio Charrua with both teams looking to join France, Japan, South Korea and North Korea (twice) on the list of under-17 world champions.

The Canadian Press

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