The quarterfinals of the U-17 Women’s World Cup are set, and there are noticeable absences of some traditional powers.
Europe sends just two teams into the final eight, and they are somewhat unexpected squads: Italy and Spain. Venezuela is the lone South American team in the quarterfinals, while Japan sits alone as Asia’s only team. Mexico and Canada moved on as the two CONCACAF nations other than host Costa Rica, and Ghana and Nigeria round out the field as Africa’s representatives.
All four quarterfinal matches take place on Thursday, with Canada taking on a dangerous Venezuela team, dominant Ghana facing Italy, Mexico staring down a tough task against Japan and Nigeria playing Spain.
Canada advanced out of a tough Group B with a 2-1 win over Ghana. That win made the North Korea-Germany result irrelevant, but Germany lost 4-3 to end a disappointing campaign in Costa Rica. The United States, of course, failed to even qualify for the event.
The winner of the Venezuela-Canada match will play the winner of Japan vs. Mexico, while either Ghana or Italy will face Nigeria or Spain in the semifinals. The final is set for April 4 in San Jose, Costa Rica.
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