Janine Beckie scored in the 65th minute and Canada held on the defeat North Korea 1-0 on Tuesday night and book a spot in the quarter-finals of the FIFA women’s under-20 World Cup.
Canada and North Korea both finished group-stage play with two wins and a loss, but Canada finished second in Group A based on goal differential and will play Group B winner Germany in a quarter-final in Toronto on Saturday night. North Korea will face the United States in Edmonton.
Local product Amandine Pierre-Louis got a big ovation from the 13,031 spectators at Olympic Stadium when she went on as a substitute in the second half and got a bigger one when she initiated the only goal.
Pierre-Louis slid a pass from the left flank to Nichelle Prince, who relayed the ball across the goal to an unguarded Beckie, who pushed it into the open side.
Beckie scored a second goal in as many games after getting one in a 3-2 win in over Finland. Canada had lost its tournament opener 1-0 to Ghana.
A scoreless first half saw North Korea control most of the play, but there were good chances at both ends.
Only 10 minutes in, Kim Mi Gyong shot over the bar from close range, but Kailen Sheridan’s best save was in the 17th when after a clever buildup, Ri Kyong Hyong got in alone on the left side and blasted the ball from point blank range.
Eight minutes later, North Korea had another chance on the left that Choe Un Hwa chipped just wide of the mark.
Coach Andrew Olivieri’s side picked up the pace near the end of the half and nearly cashed in on an Emma Fletcher cross into the box.
Then Ashley Lawrence placed a near-perfect high ball to the front of the net, but Beckie’s header was kept out by a diving save from goalkeeper Kim Chol Ok.
The boisterous crowd screamed for a foul when Prince was taken down in the area by Ri Un Yong, but no whistle came and the North Korean defence got back in time as Prince tried to feed Valerie Sanderson.
A surprise from North Korean coach Hwang Yong Bong was to have scoring star Ri Un Sim start on the bench. She went in two minutes into the second half.