CONCACAF: Quarter-finalists decided in U17 Championship
The CONCACAF Under-17 Championship, used as a qualifying tournament to decide which four teams will go to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Mexico later this year, has been whittled down to the last eight after the completion of the group stages this weekend.
In Group A Costa Rica qualified as group winners after they defeated El Salvador in the group’s final match on Friday. After Haiti had pulled out of their completing their programme due to an illness in the playing squad, both of the other two nations in the group knew they had already qualified but with the group leadership at stake both teams gave it their all. John Jairo Ruiz proved to be the main man for Costa Rica as he scored all three of his team’s goals in a 3-2 win over El Salvador. Costa Rica will face-off against Group B runners-up Panama in the quarter-finals whilst El Salvador will compete against Group B winners the United States. The Americans won both of their group games against Panama and Cuba whilst the Panamanians could only progress thanks to having a slightly better goal difference than the Cubans.
Group C saw tournament hosts Jamaica progress as group winners on goal difference. They finished the group phase with four points along with Trinidad & Tobago with Guatemala losing both of their games to the top two. Jamaica and T&T had drawn their game against each other 2-2 therefore making the margin of victory against Guatemala all important. As group winners Jamaica will meet Group D runners-up Honduras whilst T&T have a meeting against Group D winners Canada. There was a similar situation in Group D as Canada and Honduras, who had drawn their game against each other, had to rely on the margin of their victories over bottom side Barbados to decide the outcome of the group. The Canadians took the top spot after hammering the hapless Barbados side 8-0 whilst Honduras could only muster a 2-1 win.
The four teams who qualify for the semi-finals of this tournament will feature in the FIFA U-17 Championship later this year so for many of the teams left remaining the quarter-final matches take on a cup final significance of their own. Here is the draw for the last eight:
Costa Rica v Panama
United States v El Salvador
Canada v Trinidad & Tobago
Jamaica v Honduras
The top two matches take place on February 22nd, the bottom two play on February 23rd. All matches to be played in Montego Bay.