Under-17 Women's World Cup: Canada and Mexico meet for place in final

It's rare that two Concacaf teams have met in the knockout stages of a world championship.

Only once have they played in a final. The USA beat host Canada in a shootout to win the inaugural Under-19 Women's World Championship in 2002, the same year the USA beat Mexico, 2-0, in the round of 16 at the men's World Cup in South Korea.

More recently, the USA beat Canada, 4-3, in overtime of the semifinals of the 2012 Olympics women's soccer competition, one of the epic matches in women's soccer.

On Wednesday, Canada and Mexico meet in the semifinals of the Under-17 Women's World Cup in Uruguay. While the USA, the reigning Concacaf age-group champion, exited after the first round, its neighbors will meet with a berth in the final against Spain and New Zealand on the line.

There are similarities between the two teams. Both have young coaches in their first year on the job, and they have two of the best players in the tournament.

Canada coach Rhian Wilkinson is 36. Mexico's Monica Vergara is 35.

Wilkinson (181 caps as a player) was promoted to head coach in August when head coach Bev Priestman quit to return to England. Vergara, who played for Mexico at the 2004 Olympics, was named Mexico's U-17 coach in January, becoming the first woman to lead a Mexican women's national team.

Jordyn Huitema, already a regular on Canada's senior team, leads the U-17 team with three goals even though she missed the third game of the tournament after receiving a red card against South Korea. Huitema has been heavily recruited by U.S. colleges and narrowed her choice down to Stanford and UCLA.

Nicole Perez, the 17-year-old Mexican captain, scored her first two goals of the tournament in the quarterfinals against Ghana, tying the game with a free kick from 35 yards late in the second half. She has three goals in six starts this season for Guadalajara in the Liga MX Femenil

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