Canada fell shot of an elusive semifinal berth at the FIFA under-17 women's World Cup, but coach Bev Priestman says the Canadians showed they could compete with the best in the world.
Marie Levasseur and Sarah Kinzner scored for the Canadians in a 3-2 quarter-final loss to Venezuela on Thursday.
The Canadians were hoping to make history as the first Canada side to make the semifinals at the U-17 event.
"They outperformed what was expected of them in a very tough group and tried to play a brand of football that we're trying to develop throughout our system," Priestman said.
Deyna Castellanos, Yosneidy Zambrano and Lourdes Moreno scored for the Venezuelans at the 35,000-seat Nacional Stadium.
Castellanos opened scoring in the seventh minute, before goals by Kinzner, in the 19th, and Levasseur, in the 40th, gave the Canadians a 2-1 lead.
Zambrano scored the equalizer two minutes before halftime, then Moreno put Venezuela ahead for good in the 62nd minute.
"The girls are obviously very disappointed at the moment, but to be fair to them Venezuela really counter-attacked to make it difficult," Priestman said.
"You attack but then you lose the ball and you've got to quickly defend."
In the preliminary round, Canada played perennial powerhouse Germany to a 2-2 draw before tying 2012 runners-up North Korea 1-1. The Canadians finished the preliminary round by toppling Ghana 2-1.
Venezuela went undefeated through the opening round and hadn't conceded a goal until Kinzner's.
This was the youngest side Canada has fielded at the tournament. Priestman said she expects some of the players to continue to represent Canada in 2016, at either the under-17 World Cup in Jordan or the under-20 tournament in South Africa.
"I expect to see quite a few of the players move up the system this summer in Canada," she said.