Soccer

Under-20s qualifying chances dashed

  • Bermuda Under-20 coach Ray Jones

Bermuda’s hopes of reaching the Under-20 World Cup in Poland next year were dashed at the Concacaf Under-20 Championship in Bradenton, Florida, last night.

Costa Rica’s 1-0 victory over Haiti at the IMG Academy sealed Bermuda’s fate with two rounds of group matches still remaining.

“Our chances of advancing have disappeared but we’re doing our best to ensure we leave with six points,” Ray Jones, the Bermuda coach, said.

Bermuda, who have yet to score and have conceded nine goals in two outings, will play St Lucia tomorrow before closing out their group against Barbados on Friday.

“The morale of the team is high and the players realise what they have to do at this level,” Jones added.

Bermuda suffered a 5-0 defeat against Costa Rica, the top seeds in group E, in their tournament opener.

The result left Jones’s team needing to come away with at least a point in their second match against Haiti two days later, which ended in a 4-0 defeat to leave their chances of advancing in the tournament hanging by a thread.

“The coaching staff are disappointed with the result against Haiti,” Jones said. “The team played much better than in the first match but they were more clinical than us.

“At this level, simple errors get punished and our players have to adjust.”

Bermuda made their first appearance at the under-20 championship during the previous tournament in Costa Rica last year, which was the final qualifying stage for the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea.

Knory Scott and Jahkari Furbert are the only survivors from that squad, which bowed out at the group stage.

The unbeaten Costa Ricans top the five-team group in Florida with nine points from three matches and have scored eight goals without conceding.

Haiti are in second, three-points adrift of the leaders, followed by St Lucia in third with three points. Barbados are fourth and Bermuda fifth.

The top team from the group will advance to the second round of two groups of three, which starts on November 13.

The second-round group winners will play in the final on November 21.

Unlike previous tournaments, which included regional qualifiers in the Caribbean and Central America and one final championship, the championships provide more top-level competition.