- New Zealand came out ahead 1-0 against Canada in Brasilia
- Matthew Garbett’s first-half free-kick was the difference
- Their last-16 prospects now hang in the balance
New Zealand held off Canada 1-0 on Friday to score their first victory of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019™ on the final matchday of Group A. Matthew Garbett watched his free-kick carom off a Canadian player and beat goalkeeper Eleias Himaras for the match-winner in the 27th minute. While the result eliminates Canada, New Zealand have earned themselves a glimmer of hope for advancement to the last 16.
As much credit as Garbett deserves for the Junior All Whites’ win, so does goalkeeper Alex Paulsen. The captain faced 21 shots – 10 of which hit the target – and managed to keep a clean sheet. Canada enjoyed more and better chances to score, but were stymied by Paulsen. Now New Zealand will hope their three points are good enough to keep them as one of the four best third-placed finishers.
The Canucks had chances to equalise but Paulsen proved unbeatable – his save on Ralph Priso will be counted as one of the best of the tournament. Jayden Nelson did manage to put the ball in the net, but the goal was disallowed by VAR due to offside. Though they came close in their final match, Canada leave Brazil 2019 winless.
Round of 16
Should New Zealand advance, they will face either Nigeria on 5 November (Goiania/Olimpico, 20:00 local time) or the winner of Group C on 6 November (Goiania/Estadio da Serrinha, 20:00 local time).