Monday 26 March 2018, 17:21

Brazil regain their crown, Colombia return to the elite

  • Brazil win their third women’s U-17 South American title

  • Colombians finish runners-up for the second time

  • Both qualify for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018

Brazil recovered from a mid-tournament stumble to regain the South American U-17 Women’s Championship title and qualify with something to spare for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018. Joining them there will be Colombia, who finished runners-up in the regional qualifiers, held in Argentina.

There was little to choose between the four sides that made it to the final phase of the competition, all of whom had a chance of qualifying heading into the last round of games. In the end, world finals hosts Uruguay finished third to cap a promising display, while two-time defending champions Venezuela placed fourth and will miss the World Cup for the first time since Azerbaijan 2012. The Venezuelans at least had the consolation of winning the Fair Play Award.

Brazil react just in time Though they won their first three games without letting in a goal and were the first side to book a place in the final four-team round, Brazil then fell to defeats to Colombia in the group phase and Uruguay in the final round, halting their momentum.

They recovered it thanks in no small part to Jheniffer da Silva, who led the side to wins over the Colombians and Venezuela in their final two games, which secured them the continental crown and with it a place at Uruguay 2018.

Did you know?

  • This is Brazil’s third continental title in six attempts and their first since 2012.

  • They won four matches, all of them without conceding a goal.

  • Jheniffer and Emily top-scored for the Brazilians with three goals apiece.

  • The Brazilians will now make their fifth appearance in the world finals in the age group.

“The hardest part came when we lost to Uruguay, mainly because we didn’t do what we’d been doing in training,” said Brazil coach Luizao after his side’s victory. “We spoke to them afterwards and showed them videos, and we produced some heroics to beat Colombia. That settled our nerves ahead of the Venezuela game, where the team showed its power.”

Colombia make it over the line Colombia seemed well on course to qualify and claim the title after winning all four of their group matches and the first game of the final round.

A narrow defeat to Brazil checked their progress, however, and it was only after a hard-fought draw against Uruguay in their closing match that they could celebrate qualification.

Did you know?

  • This is the second time the Colombians have finished runners-up, after 2013.

  • They won more points than any other side in the competition, 16 out of 21.

  • They scored the most goals in the competition (15) and conceded the fewest (two).

  • Marieth Perez was the tournament’s leading scorer with seven goals.

  • Colombia will now make their fourth appearance in the world finals in the age group.

“We did what we came to do and the girls gave their all,” said Colombia coach Didier Luna. “Now we need to go away and prepare to play and make history in the World Cup.”

Uruguay pass the test The upcoming U-17 Women’s World Cup hosts went unbeaten in winning their group and also recorded their first win over Brazil at this level. Though that was not enough for them to win the title, third place was their best performance since finishing second in 2012. With seven months to go before the world finals, Celeste fans are entitled to dream of bigger things ahead.

The stat 71.42 - The percentage number of points that Brazil won en route to the title, fewer than runners-up Colombia, who won 76.19 percent.