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Field starting to fill up for FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Canada this summer

01/21/2014 01:44 EST | Updated 03/23/2014 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - The U.S., Mexico and Costa Rica have punched their ticket to the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Canada this summer, with qualifying ongoing in Africa, Oceania and South America.

The U-20 tournament, seen as a test run for the FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada in 2015, is set for Aug. 5-24 in Edmonton, Moncton, Montreal and Toronto.

Canada, as host, qualifies automatically for the 16-team competition.

Five more spots are up for grabs with Brazil, New Zealand and Nigeria favoured to earn three of them.

The high-powered Americans qualified after dominating the CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Championship in the Cayman Islands.

The U.S., which won the world under-20 title in 2002, 2008 and 2012, defeated Mexico 3-0 in Sunday's regional final. The Americans won all five of their qualifying matches, outscoring the opposition 29-0.

Costa Rica also advanced after defeating Trinidad & Tobago 7-3 to finish third in the CONCACAF tournament. The Central Americans trailed by two goals with 20 minutes left in regulation, scoring six unanswered goals.

Europe will be represented in Canada by England, Finland, France and two-time world under-20 champion Germany. Qualifying took place last August at the UEFA European Women's U-19 Championship in Wales where France defeated England 2-0 in the final.

South Korea, North Korea and China will represent Asia by virtue of the AFC U-19 Women's Championship in October.

The African representatives will be the winners of home-away ties this month between Ghana and Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria and South Africa.

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela are competing this month in Uruguay to see which two South American teams qualify for Canada 2014.

Brazil has won the last five CONMEBOL qualifying tournaments

They will be joined from Oceania by the winner of this month's OFC Women's Championship in New Zealand.

The Kiwis have won every OFC U-20 Women's Championship since Australia left for the Asian Football Confederation.

The FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup is scheduled to open Aug. 5 at BMO Field in Toronto. Twenty-nine matches later, the third-place game and final will take place Aug. 24 at Montreal's Olympic Stadium.

In 2012, Canada failed to make it to the quarter-finals after going 1-2-0 in round-robin play in Japan.

The host Canadian women lost to the U.S. on a golden goal in the final before 47,784 at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium in the inaugural 2002 competition.

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