Canada will be in the last eight at the Under-17 Women's World Cup thanks to a 2-1 win over Ghana in their final match of the group stage. Coming in to the game the Canadians knew that a win would assure them of a place in the quarter-finals but anything less would open the door for Germany of North Korea to overtake them for second place in the group.
They got the job done against a Ghana team that had little left to play for having already wrapped up top spot in Group B but Canada certainly did not make it easy on themselves. They were cruising at the half thanks to a pair of goals in the opening 45 by Marie Levasseur but early in the second half the game took a drastic turn when Canada's Bianca St Georges was sent off for her challenge as the final defender.
With Canada down to 10 women it allowed Ghana to press forward and they would pull one goal back midway through the second half but that was all the Canadians would give them. The young canucks did well to hold off the extended pressure and protect their 2-1 lead.
In the end, Canada could have advanced with a draw by virtue of goal difference over North Korea but it was impressive to see them once again hold on late in a game. The coaching staff should be happy that their team only allowed four goals throughout the group stage despite often being placed under heavy pressure.
The Canadians were glad to have Levasseur back in the lineup for this game as she missed out on the match against North Korea through injury. He two goals against Ghana push he total for the tournament up to three which is good enough to currently have her as the joint top scorer in the event. Canada's only other scorer (besides an own goal) is Jessie Fleming who found the back of the net early in the 2-2 draw against Germany.
Making the quarter-finals after being drawn in to such a tough group is quite the accomplishment for the Canadians but now they will be looking for more. They certainly have the talent on their squad to make waves in the knockout rounds.
They will be in tough in the quarters against the winner of Group A. Italy and Venezuela met on Saturday night with top spot in the group on the line with the winner of that game meeting Canada in the knockout round. That quarterfinal will be played on March 27th and should be televised on one of the many Sportsnet channels.