Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 20 Men’s Team advanced to the CONCACAF Final Round of qualification in Costa Rica without kicking a ball on their final day of Group B action in Willemstad on Wednesday.
As they looked on from the stands at the Ergilio Hato Stadium at the Cuba versus St Lucia outing in the opening match of the evening, T&T realised their fate maybe 90 minutes earlier than expected as both teams played to a 1-1 draw, leaving T&T and Haiti as the top two teams in the group prior to their meeting later on.
Both T&T and Haiti would then play to a 0-0 draw, with Haiti topping the group on seven points followed by T&T on 5 as they remained unbeaten in three matches. T&T extended their unbeaten run to six matches in the CFU qualification and will next face Antigua/Barbuda in the first semi-final on Friday from 5pm while Haiti faces Bermuda.
T&T head coach Brian Williams was elated at the end of the evening’s proceedings.
“Credit to every player and every member of staff for this effort,” Williams told TTFA Media.
“We came here with one ambition which was to get out of the group and secure our place in the CONCACAF phase. And I must tip by hat to the members.
“We played unbeaten in the three games here and we are yet to lose a game in the qualifiers and I think that is something we can feel good about.WE are not going to get carried away because we still have a semi-final game to play and a chance to defend our title in the Caribbean. And then there’s the best of Concacaf for us to go up against next year in Costa Rica,” he added.
“But for now, we’ll let it settle for a bit. It has been a strenuous journey for the entire team so far and now that we have accomplished our first goal. we will now take the rest of this competition in stride and begin planning for the next phase and preparing for what will be another very tough tournament in Costa Rica,” Williams added.
T&T will join eleven other nations in Costa Rica from February 17th-March 5th. The other qualified teams include hosts Costa Rica, Canada, Mexico, United States, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Bermuda, Antigua/Barbuda, Haiti and CFU fifth placed team St Kitts/Nevis. The two venues for the competition will be the National Stadium in San Jose, and the Ricardo Saprissa Stadium, home to Deportivo Saprissa of the Costa Rican First Division. The date for the draw will be announced shortly.
The twelve (12) teams shall be divided into a group stage consisting of two (2) groups (A, B) of six (6) teams each. The group winners qualify automatically for the Final and the Under 20 World Cup in South Korea. The second-and third-place teams from each group are re-seeded by group stage results for a playoffs, with the top team of the four facing the fourth-best team, and the second-best finisher facing the third-best. The winners of those two games will also advance to the U-20 World Cup.
- Denzil Smith (GK) 3. Kori Cupid, 5. Taryk Sampson, 6. Noah Powder, 8. Jarred Dass (15. Kathon St Hillaire, 73′), 9. Nicholas Dillon (2. Andrew Rullow, 88′), 10. Jabari Mitchell, 11. Kareem Riley, 12. Shane Sandy, 17. Keston Julien, 19. Morgan Bruce (16. Micah Lansiquot, 84′)Subs not used – 7. Isaiah Hudson, 13. Isaiah Garcia, 14. Taofik Lucas-Walker, 18. Josh Toussaint, 20. Jabari Brice. Injured out – 4. Kierron Mason
Head Coach – Brian Williams
Referee – Sherwin Moore (Guyana)
Assistant 1 – Trevor Porter (Guyana)
Assistant 2 – Denroy Barker (St Vincent/Grenadines)
Fourth Official – Swason Owen (Cayman Islands)
Match Commissioner – Hubert Isenia (Curacao)