Jamaica’s Under-20 Reggae Boyz failed in their bid to advance to the semifinals of the Concacaf Men’s U-20 Championship and FIFA U-20 World Cup, following a 1-0 loss to qualifiers Dominica Republic.

In a match that saw few clearcut scoring opportunities, Ángel Montes got the all-important goal for the Dominican Republic in the 10th minute.  From a throw-in, the forward slipped away from a napping defense and fired the ball wide of Jamaican goalkeeper Coniah Boyce Clarke.

The Dom Rep, who defended stoutly against a listless Jamaican attack, seemed to have doubled their lead headed to halftime but Edison Azcona’s 41st-minute strike was ruled to have been offside.

The Dominica Republic will now advance to play the winner of Guatemala and Mexico City in the competition’s semifinal.  By virtue of making the final four, however, the team has advanced to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup for the first time in its history.   

A late penalty from Jahmari Clarke saw Jamaica’s U-20 Reggae Boyz secure a 1-1 come-from-behind draw and share of the points against Costa Rica in Group D of the CONCACAF Under-20 Championships, in Honduras, on Saturday.

After a scoreless first half, which saw both teams unable to take advantage of limited opportunities to find the back of the net, Dorian Rodríguez gave Costa Rica the advantage with a well-placed header in the 58th minute.

The Jamaicans missed a golden opportunity to get back on level terms when Julián González brought down livewire substitute Chad James in the area.  Duncan Mckenzie, however, missed the resulting penalty, with Costa Ria custodian Bayron Mora diving sharply to his left to stop the effort.

Los Ticos seemed destined for all three points but Andrey Salmerón’s 87th-minute shot came crashing back off the crossbar as the Jamaicans held on.  In a hefty chunk of time added on, however, Clarke was wrestled to the ground by Brandon Calderón for another penalty.  This time the forward did make use of the advantage, sending Mora the wrong way to bring the team back on level terms, only just seconds before the final whistle.

In the day’s other encounter, Cuba scored a 1-0 win over Canada in Group E.  Kevin Martín got the winning goal in the 42nd minute.

CONCACAF has announced the cancellation of both its Under-17 and Under-20 youth championships in light of FIFA’s recent announcement to shutter the FIFA U-17 and U-20 Men’s World Cups, scheduled to take place in Peru and Indonesia later this year.

The U-20 tournament was originally scheduled to be held in Honduras between 20 June and 5 July 2020.  However, following the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic the tournament was initially pushed forward to later this year.  The U-17 competition suffered a similar fate.

With the spread of the virus continuing to affect safety concerns and travelling ability, FIFA announced the decision to cancel both tournaments last week.  With the CONCACAF tournaments serving as qualifiers for the World Cups, the confederation decided to follow suit. As part of the decision, FIFA announced the next editions will be held in 2023 at the venues that were to host the 2021 editions of the tournaments.

 Jamaica (1999, 2011), Trinidad and Tobago (2001, 2007) and Haiti (2007, 2019), and Cuba (1989, 1991) are the Caribbean teams to have qualified for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup editions.  At the Under-20 level Trinidad and Tobago (1991, 2009) Jamaica (2001), and Cuba (2013) have qualified to the finals.

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