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Canada eliminated from FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup after draw with Tanzania

Canada exited the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup on Tuesday after drawing debutante Tanzania 1-1 in its final opening-round match.

The Canadians went into the contest needing a win at DY Patil Stadium and some help from Japan, in the form of a victory or tie with France in the other Group D game kicking off simultaneously in Goa, to stay alive at the tournament.

Amanda Allen opened the scoring for Canada from the penalty spot. Veronica Mapunda tied it up for Tanzania.

In desperation mode, the Canadians changed formation and threw everything in attack as the clock wound down and through nine minutes of stoppage time. But Tanzania defended resolutely and Canada lacked a clinical finish with a Jade Bordeleau shot in stoppage time handled by the Tanzania ‘keeper.

Known as the Serengeti Girls, Tanzania is making its debut at a FIFA World Cup event. And it turned heads Saturday with a 2-1 upset victory over France after losing 4-0 to Japan in its opener.

Canada opened play with a 1-1 draw with France before falling 4-0 to Japan on Saturday.

Japan (3-0-0, nine points) defeated France 2-0 to finish atop the group. Tanzania (1-1-1, four points) finished runner-up while Canada (0-1-2, two points) finished third ahead of France (0-2-1, one point).

The top two teams in each of the four groups advance to the quarter-finals. France won the tournament in 2012 while Japan lifted the trophy in 2014.

Spain is the defending champion, having won in 2018 when Canada placed fourth. The 2020 tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Tanzania’s senior women’s side is ranked 152nd in the world, sandwiched between St. Lucia and Timor-Leste, and some 145 rungs below Olympic champion Canada.

Canada went ahead in the 14th minute on an Allen penalty after Annabelle Chukwu was taken down in the Tanzania penalty box after dispossessing captain Noela Luhala. Chukwu, who scored off the bench versus France, went down as she negotiated her way through three defenders,

Allen beat Tanzania goalkeeper Zulfa Makau cleanly with the spot kick.

Tanzania answered in the 35th minute after failing to clear a corner. The ball hit several bodies and came to Mapunda, whose accurate shot beat Canadian ‘keeper Coralie Lallier.

Canada will rue the play, having conceded the corner after the ball bounced off a defender under pressure from a Tanzania attacker.

Both teams were missing key attackers at the tournament through injury.

Canada’s Rosa Maalouf led the CONCACAF U-17 Championship with 12 goals while Clara Luvanga scored 10 in qualifying for Tanzania.

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