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CONCACAF U-17 contenders confirmed

Mexico claimed the CONCACAF U-17 Championship title and a place at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017. Image: AFP

New Zealand and New Caledonia can prepare for a tough battle in October’s FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, with Mexico, United States, Costa Rica and Honduras confirmed as the CONCACAF representatives for the youth competition.

After representing CONCACAF in the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, all four nations earned their return to the world competition in the Classification Stage of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship. The top six nations from the Group Stage continued on to the Classification Stage, made of two groups, and the top two nations from each group qualified for the World Cup.

United States won both matches against Honduras and Cuba to finish top of their group, earning their place in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship final and their 16th FIFA U-17 World Cup. Although Honduras’ chance at the competition final was claimed by the North American giants, the Central Americans’ 7-1 win over Cuba booked them their tickets for India.

Two-time FIFA U-17 World Cup champions Mexico took out the top spot in the other group after a close 1-0 victory against Panama and a dominant 6-1 win against Costa Rica. Despite conceding heavily to Mexico, Costa Rica managed to scrape a 2-1 win against Panama and join Mexico, United States and Honduras.

The North American final of the competition was neck-and-neck, with the scores tied 1-1 at full-time. With no extra time included in the match, Mexico and United States settled the title over a penalty shoot-out. The Mexican’s prevailed before entering sudden death, winning the match 5-4.

The fates of New Zealand, New Caledonia and the CONCACAF contenders will be determined at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 draw, which will be held in Mumbai on 7 July.

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