Tuesday, January 16, 2018

U-20s take on US challenge in semis

 Trinidad and Tobago’s Under-20 women’s footballers will face a mountainous task tonight from 8pm  when they take on defending World Cup champions United States in the semi-final of the CONCACAF Final Round at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in the Cayman Islands.

But while captain Anique Walker and her teammates may be up against the powerhouses in women’s football, T&T head coach Izler Browne said her team will not be intimidated by their opponents.

“We are not fazed by them but of course we know the quality of the opponent that we are going up against and the big difference in the size and quality of development programme they have as well as their history in the game. They are giants in women’s football,” Browne told TTFA Media yesterday.

She added however, that “at the same time we’ve had experiences against them and we’ve made some strides. I think our girls have done tremendously well so far, especially in the Mexico game which we lost on three soft goals. I think we showed a lot of maturity and composure which will auger well for us going into these last two games.  We were good against the Mexicans and it was a good sight for me as a coach to see how the team handled the match.”

T&T have conceded three goals and scored six in their 2-0 and 4-0 wins over Honduras and Cayman Islands, losing 3-0 to Mexico,  while the US trounced Costa Rica 6-0, also defeating Jamaica 3-0 and Guatemala 10-0 in the group stage.

“We know the significance of the semi-final match against the US and the girls know that if we can stay compact and play to plan then it’s not impossible for us to eke out a win. We are fully aware that we could face the possibility of a second opportunity to qualify if we have to end up contesting the third place match on Sunday. But we will approach this game against the US like any other, which is to play at our best and play to win,” Browne added.

Costa Rica take on Mexico in the first semi-final from 5pm. The winners of both semi-finals automatically qualify for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada in August and Sunday’s CONCACAF Final, while the losers will contest the third place playoff on Sunday and a chance to take the third spot at the World Cup.