It was a good news/bad news day for Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema Wednesday at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay.
Huitema’s Canadian crew lost 1-0 to Mexico in a semi-final heartbreaker, and are relegated to the third-place game versus New Zealand on Saturday.
The good news is Canada will still achieve its best ever finish in this tournament, though it won’t feel like good news for a while.
The Mexico loss was a tough pill to swallow because Huitema’s team was the better squad for most of the match. They controlled 59 per cent of the possession, but struggled to turn that into shots. Mexico sent 18 attempts toward the Canadian goal, five on target. The Canadians were 0 for 7.
Huitema was undone by bad luck and suspect officiating.
In the 22nd minute she was taken down in the Mexican penalty box but didn’t get the call from referee Anastasia Pustovoytova.
In the 28th minute Huitema jumped on a bad pass by a Mexican player, had a clear path to the goal and beat the keeper. But the strike was waved off because Huitema’s teammate Teni Akindoju had knocked over a defender who might have been able to stop her.
“I’m very proud of this team,” said Canadian coach Rhian Wilkinson. “I think they’re wonderful young women. Today wasn’t their day. Mexico deserved the win. I think we lost and they’ll learn from it and I think many of them will play for Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team one day.”
Huitema and company will finish fourth.
Canada’s previous best finish in this tournament was seventh in 2008 (New Zealand) and 2012 (Azerbaijan).
In the decade-long history of the U-17 Women’s World Cup, Canada is one of just six countries to qualify for the tournament every year.