SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras ( Associated Press) — The Dominican Republic will also be in football at the Olympic Games.
Not satisfied with a historic qualification for the Indonesian U20 World Cup in 2023, the Dominican youth certified their ticket to the 2024 Paris men’s tournament on Friday after beating Guatemala 4-2 in a penalty shootout.
The Dominican Republic had never qualified for the FIFA World Championship before, but their under-20 team broke the barrier mid-week after beating Jamaica in the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF knockout tournament.
To reach Olympic football, the Dominican had to overcome a 2–0 defeat after the first half. With great personality, they managed to draw 2-2 against Guatemala to put up extra time and go on penalties.
From 12 moves on, Dominican goalkeeper Javier Valdez covered a shot from Guatemalan fourth shooter – Arquimides Ordnez – and then Adonis María declared victory at the Francisco Morazán Stadium in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
In the second semi-final, the United States defeated hosts Honduras 3–0 and qualified for Olympic football for the first time since 2008.
Paxten Aarons, Alejandro Alvarado and Quinn Sullivan scored in the first half to ensure the American victory.
The Olympic tournament will have 16 teams and is not open to players over the age of 23. Up to three players over the age limit can be included in each country.
In the opening hours, Guatemala finished with a header, thanks to a goal by Ordóez – his fifth of the tournament – in the 23rd minute. Six minutes later, Ordez himself intervened in the second goal when his touch was deflected into the back of the net by defender Sebastian Manon.
The Dominican did not lower his arms and tied in the complement over a three-minute period.
After a corner kick and a poor start from Guatemala, Guillermo de Pea took a 2-1 lead at 62 with a right hand. Exactly two minutes later, Edison Azcona scored the tying goal with another right footed shot from the edge of the field.
Both teams had good chances in the final stages of regulation time and in extra time, where VAR’s interference returned the penalty awarded in Guatemalan’s favour.
In the penalty, Guatemala missed their goalkeeper Jorge Moreno, who was absent due to the accumulation of cards. Moreno’s definition of a penalty came from having a figure in a 2–1 win against Mexico, having saved three shots from a shootout that resolved the quarter-final match.
Four semi-finalists qualified for the U20 World Cup with 24 teams, and will be played in Indonesia from 20 May to 11 June.
The United States and the Dominican Republic will play the final of the tournament on Sunday.