Canada exited the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Thursday, beaten 5-1 by Mali for its third straight loss.
The defeat dropped the Canadian men’s all-time record to 0-20-4 in eight trips to the tournament. Canada also went 0-3-0 in 2019, the last time the competition was held (the 2021 edition was cancelled due to the pandemic).
Canada has scored just 11 goals – one of which was an Argentine own goal – while conceding 70 at the tournament.
The Canadians opened Group B play with a 2-0 loss to Spain before falling 3-0 to Uzbekistan.
Mali jumped into a 2-0 lead on goals by Ibrahim Diarra (14th minute) and Mahamoud Barry (26th) before Richard Chukwu scored Canada’s first of the tournament at the 45th-minute mark. The Africans padded their lead late in the game with goals by Ibrahim Kanate (73rd), Hamidou Makalou (77th) and Ousmane Thiero (91st).
Mali outshot Canada 30-6 (17-2 in shots on target) and had 55 per cent possession.
“Tonight we pushed to try and get the win against a really good team,” said Canada coach Andrew Olivieri. “We’re not pleased to have lost, but we can look at all three games and learn in different ways whether it’s through effort, fight, or quality. This is the standard they have to meet and it’s just the foundation.
“Some of these guys will move onto the next cycle with the U-20s, we know they’re good enough to excel at that level, so it’s important that they grow from this experience.”
Mali was beaten by Nigeria in the 2015 final and finished fourth in 2017.
Spain (2-0-1, seven points) drew 2-2 Thursday with Uzbekistan (1-1-1, four points) to finish atop Group B. Mali (2-1-0, six points) was second and Canada (0-3-0, zero points) fourth.
The top two teams in each of the six first-round groups plus the four best third-place finishers advance to the knockout round.
The Canadians qualified by reaching the final four of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship in February in Guatemala, losing 2-0 to the eventual runner-up Americans in the semifinal. Mexico won the CONCACAF crown, with Panama also qualifying for the FIFA showcase.