Canadian women could book their ticket to the World Cup with the right results on Friday

A win over Panama plus a little help from Costa Rica and Canada can book his ticket to the 2023 Women’s World Cup on Friday.

That’s Job 1 for the Olympic champions Canadians at the CONCACAF W Championship in Mexico, with the four semi-finalists qualifying for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

So far so good for sixth-placed Canada, who opened Tuesday’s eight-team tournament with a 6-0 win over number 76 Trinidad and Tobago. Olympic qualification is also at stake in Mexico, with the CONCACAF winner securing the only place in the region for the 2024 Paris Games.

But one after anonther.

“I said it this morning when I named the team (for the game in Panama), it’s about qualifying for a World Cup. That’s what we came here for in the first place,” Canada coach Bev Priestman told a virtual availability on Thursday. “And then our eyes will be on that once we clear that hurdle and qualify for the Olympics.

“This group – they’re humble, they’re hardworking, they’re focused – I’m not worried about that overconfidence. If anything, with these groups it is often a subconscious.”

The Canadians have never lost to Panama, beating the 57th-placed team 13-0 in their previous two encounters.

Captain Christine Sinclair scored twice the last time Canada scored against Panama – a 7-0 win in October 2018 at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship that earned Canada a place at the 2019 World Cup in France.

Adriana Leon also scored twice that day in Frisco, Texas with Jessie Fleming, Janine Beckie and Quinn, who goes by one name, adding singles as Canada scored six goals in the second half. Nichelle Prince had three assists.

The Canadian fired 25 shots (18 on target), connected for 487 of 538 pass attempts (91 percent) and has 71 percent. Possession. Panama didn’t shoot on goal.

Despite this story, Priestman takes nothing for granted,

“Although I’ve brought some freshness to the line-up, I also respect that anything can happen in CONCACAF,” she said.

No. 57 Panama lost 3-0 to No. 37 Costa Rica in Tuesday’s opener.

After the group match, the two best teams in each of the two groups advance to the semi-finals and secure World Cup qualification. The third-placed team in each group advances to an intercontinental World Cup playoff.

A win over Panama and Canada earns six points with one group game remaining. Combine that with a win for Costa Rica or a draw against Trinidad in Friday’s previous match and Canada to secure a place in the top two in Group B.

The goal is to win the group to avoid a likely clash with leaders USA in the semifinals. But chances are that if Canada continues to win, they will still face the Americans in the final.

Only the CONCACAF winner secures a spot at the Olympics, as well as a ticket to the inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup, to be held in 2024. scheduled for September 2023, with the winner also qualifying for the Paris Olympics and the CONCACAF W Gold Cup.

The World Cup consists of 32 teams, compared to just 12 at the Olympics.

After playing at the 53,500-capacity Estadio BBVA in the Guadalupe suburb on Tuesday, Canada and Panama move to the Estadio Universitario on Friday. The 41,600-seat Monterrey stadium known as El Volcan is home to Tigres UANL.

Canada got off to a frustrating start against Trinidad in CONCACAF W’s opener, only leading 1-0 at half-time despite dominating play. The fact that goals have been difficult to come by in recent games only added to the pressure.

Priestman urged her team at the break to “take the handbrake off” and speak up.

“Sometimes we stick too closely to a script,” she said after the game.

The team responded with five goals in the last 23 minutes, two of which came from substitute Julia Grosso. The 21-year-old Vancouver midfielder, who plays her club football in Italy for Juventus, said the advice was welcome.

“I was really excited to hear that,” she said. “It’s always exciting, especially in the middle (of the field) because it kind of gave me more license to go forward and get into the (penalty) box knowing she said to all of us : ,Just do it’ .”

The goals were Grosso’s first for Canada.

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Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 7, 2022.

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