Canada’s run at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup ends after 3-1 loss to Nigeria


Canada scored early but lost 3-1 on Wednesday night to group leaders Nigeria as they wrapped up their group phase at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2022. Canada’s Kaila Novak scored in the second minute on an interception, but a pair of penalties scored by Esther Onyenezide in the 24th and 32nd minutes reversed the lead in Nigeria’s favour before Chioma Olise made it 3-1 in the dying minutes.


“For many of these players, this was their first experience on the world stage and they got to compete against three very different opponents and learn what it takes to play at this level,” said Cindy Tye, Canada Soccer’s Women’s U-20 Coach. “They are learning not just the technical and tactical side of the game, but also the mindset and I think our players went towards that in every game and there was no quit in them from start to finish.”

Canada got off to a flying start for Wednesday’s match when they took a 1-0 lead two minutes into the game after Novak capitalised on a passing error from Monle Omini Oyono. The goal was scored as a result of Canada’s high-press defensive tactics that they have developed throughout the competition.

Nigeria increased their attacking pressure after the goal. Canada stood firm and defended well while looking to break on the counter-attack. Nigeria’s offensive efforts paid off as they won two penalties to take the lead.

In the second half, Canada relied on possession-based attacking to level the score. They came close to grabbing the equalising goal on many occasions, but fell short of doing so before the final whistle. Nigeria scored their third goal of the night in the dying moments of the game.

Canada’s end to the competition leaves the team with a lot of experience gained. Coming into the tournament, only 16 of the 21 Canadian players had FIFA youth experience. This comes after the FIFA U-20 and FIFA U-17 World Cups in 2020 were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Three players — Florianne Jourde, Coralie Lallier and Olivia Smith — have an opportunity for another FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2024.

“This is an incredible group of young women and they are so connected and solid and they always had each other’s backs,” said Tye. “They were truly enjoyable to coach and I look forward to seeing them move on from the youth level to wear the maple leaf and move into professional careers.”

Goals / Buts
CAN 2′ Kaila Novak (left / gauche) 1-0 (interception)
NIG 24′ Esther Onyenezide (PK right foot / pied droit) 1-1
NIG 32′ Esther Onyenezide (PK right foot / pied droit) 2-1
NIG 90 +1′ Chioma Olise (right / droit) 3-1 (a. Rofiat Imuran)

CANADA – 1 GK Anna Karpenko; 5 Annika Leslie, 4 Jade Rose capt., 3 Mia Pante (14 Brooklyn Courtnall HT), 13 Simi Awujo, 6 Zara Chavoshi (12 Vivianne Bessette 78′), 8 Sonia Walk (16 Keera Melenhorst 59′), 2 Zoe Burns, 7 Florianne Jourde (9 Miya Grant-Clavijo HT) , 11 Kaila Novak, 18 Olivia Smith (19 Serita Thurton 45′). Coach / entraîneure Cindy Tye. Unused substitutes / substituts non utilisés: 20 GK Sierra Giorgio, 21 GK Coralie Lallier, 15 Élisabeth Tsé.

Performance of the Match / Performance du match:
Simi Awujo:

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