• May 29, 2023

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Canadian women battle France to draw in opener of U-17 Women’s World Cup

Substitute Annabelle Chukwu scored in the 67th minute as Canada tied France in its opening match Wednesday at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

France, which obtained the tournament in 2012, pulled even on a 73rd-minute goal by Lucie Calba at Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa.

Both teams had early opportunities with Canadian goalkeeper Coralie Lallier forced to make a save in the first 30 seconds and Canada surviving a goalmouth scramble in the seventh.

At the other end, Amanda Allen hit the crossbar in the 20th minute after pouncing on a short French back pass to the ‘keeper.

Anna Hauer set up the Canada goal with a through ball to Chukwu, who sidestepped the French goalkeeper and slotted the ball home. France tied it up in the 73rd on an acrobatic header by Calba.

“Good start team! Onto the next one,” tweeted Canada women’s coach Bev Priestman, who is married to under-17 coach Emma Humphries.

The 16-country competition runs through Oct. 30.

The young Canadians take on 2014 champion Japan on Saturday, also in Goa, before wrapping up Group D play Oct. 18 versus debutante Tanzania in Navi Mumbai. Spain is the defending champion, having won in 2018 when Canada placed fourth. The 2020 tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Canada qualified by virtue of a 3-0 triumph over Puerto Rico in the third-place game at the CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship in May in the Dominican Republic.

Canada has taken part in seven editions of the U-17 Women’s World Cup, highlighted by the fourth-place finish in 2018 in Uruguay where it downed Germany 1-0 in the quarter-finals before falling 1-0 to Mexico in the semifinal. Canada then lost 2-1 to New Zealand in the third-place game.

Steve Carr

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