The group phase of the U-17 World Cup is now over, and Mexico and the USA are the only two CONCACAF sides in the knockout stages. USA defeated UAE 1-0 on Sunday to finish second in their group, while Mexico beat Japan 2-0 on Friday to finish second in Group B. Now the Mexicans will face South Korea in their round of 16 match, and the Americans will play Italy. The U-17 level is very unpredictable, but it looks like the USA are in the most difficult mini-bracket of the four.
The other two representatives from CONCACAF finished bottom of their respective groups, but Honduras and Costa Rica will feel differently about the way they finished. The Catrachos were competitive in their three matches, but ultimately fell short against more experienced competition. The Ticos, after that draw with New Zealand, never recovered after that suspended match, losing by 4-1 margins to Turkey and Burkina Faso. This particular U-17 generation had deficiencies all over the field in those two matches, which is a worrying sign for Costa Rican football after the fine tournament the U-20s had last month.