After scoring six goals in six games this year, the Canada women’s soccer team is looking to up the ante in the CONCACAF W Championship.
And the stakes are high as Canada, the reigning Olympic champions and currently ranked sixth in the world, play No. 76 Trinidad and Tobago in Monterrey, Mexico on Tuesday night.
The eight-team tournament, which runs through July 18, serves as a qualifier in North, Central America and the Caribbean for both the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Previously, World Cup and Olympic qualification were separated in the region.
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Canada suffered a disappointing 0-0 draw against No. 18 South Korea in Toronto on 26 June. In February, Canada scored just three goals against elite opponents at the Arnold Clark Cup in England, where Priestman’s team played 1-1 against England No. 8, defeated No. 5 Germany 1-0 and beat No. 7 Spain lost 0:1.
Even more firepower was on display in April, with a total of four goals in a win and a draw against No. 39 Nigeria.
Canada relied on a stingy defense en route to Olympic gold in Tokyo last summer, beating their opponents 6-4 in six games, with two of them ending on penalties.
In the 10 games since the Olympics, Canada has only scored more than a goal three times, while averaging a 4-4-2 record.
“I know this group can achieve anything when it counts,” said Canada coach Bev Priestman.
“If we’re just doing better than any other team, I feel very comfortable that with the right mindset and approach, this team can do exactly what the talent in the group represents on their day,” she added.
“And I think I’ve seen that in the last three days now. We feel ready. We can’t wait for the ball to roll. The goals will come, I’m sure, with the right people on the pitch and the right partnerships.”
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Canada and Trinidad play in Pool B along with No. 37 Costa Rica and No. 57 Panama. Group A consists of the leaders USA, No. 26 Mexico, No. 51 Jamaica and No. 60 Haiti.
The top two teams from each of the two groups advance to the semi-finals and qualify directly for the 2023 World Cup. The two third-placed teams advance to an intercontinental World Cup playoff.
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The CONCACAF W champion qualifies for both the 2024 Olympic Games and the inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup, also scheduled for 2024. The second-placed and third-placed teams will meet in a CONCACAF Olympic Playoff scheduled for September 2023, with the winner booking their seat to the 2024 Olympics and Gold Cup.
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Priestman said 39-year-old captain Christine Sinclair, who did not play South Korea, will be ready when needed
“It will just be about having Christine ready throughout the group stage when it really matters. I think that’s the important part,” she said.
“I’m happy to say that people will see Christine in this first game,” she added.
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The Canadians have won all eight meetings with Trinidad and Tobago, beating the Soca Warriors 34-0.
Canada last won 6-0 in the CONCACAF women’s qualifiers for the Houston 2016 Olympics. In that game, Sinclair scored her 159th international goal, moving past Mia Hamm to become second on the all-time top scorers list in the world.
Trinidad coach Kenwyne Jones expects a tough challenge from the Canadians.
“It’s no secret what their talents are and how good they are. But at the same time, these teams have to play to achieve the goal that we want to achieve,” said the former Trinidad international.
“For every team, for every player, these kinds of challenges are challenging,” he added. “It’s a way of testing yourself and seeing how well you’re doing on the test and what you might need to do to get better. Football is won on the field on the day. And anything can happen.”
Trinidad won their way to the W Championship and led qualifying Group F with a 3-0-1 record with full-back Liana Hinds (Hibernian, Scotland) and midfielders Karyn Forbes (Police FC, Trinidad), Chelcy Ralph (Ball State University). ) and Asha at James (West Texas A&M University) at the top.
It’s a young team, 16 of the 23 players were born in 1998 or later.
“The team itself needed a refresher. There had to be new blood and there had to be new blood in the future,” said Jones, who took over the squad last November after a brief stint as interim manager.
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37-year-old Jones’ club career has included spells with England’s Southampton, Sunderland, Stoke City and Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United.
Canada has won the CONCACAF Championship twice (1998 and 2010) and has been runners-up five times (1991, 1994, 2002, 2006 and 2018). It has participated in 10 CONCACAF tournaments, skipping the 2014 event as it hosted the 2015 World Cup. Canada’s career record in CONCACAF competition is 29-9-1.
Ten of Sinclair’s world-record 189 international goals came at the CONCACAF Championship.
Trinidad and Tobago is the only team to have competed in all CONCACAF W Championships. His best result was a third-place finish in 1991, with fourth-place performances in 1993, 1994 and 2014. His career record at the tournament is 7-21-5.
Goalkeeper: Sabrina D’Angelo, Vittsjo GIK (Sweden); Lysianne Proulx, independent; Kailen Sheridan, San Diego Wave (NWSL).
Defender: Kadeisha Buchanan, Chelsea (England); Allysha Chapman, Houston Dash (NWSL); Vanessa Gilles, Angel City FC (NWSL); Ashley Lawrence, Paris Saint-Germain (France); Jayde Riviere, AFC Ann Arbor (USL W League); Bianca St-Georges, Chicago Red Stars (NWSL); Shelina Zadorsky, Tottenham (England); Zoe Burns, University of Southern California (NCAA).
Midfield player: Jessie Fleming, Chelsea (England); Julia Grosso, Juventus (Italy); Quinn, OL Dominion (NWSL); Sophie Schmidt, Houston Dash (NWSL); Desiree Scott, Kansas City Current (NWSL).
Forward: Janine Beckie, Portland Thorns (NWSL); Jordyn Huitema, OL Reign (NWSL); Cloe Lacasse, Benfica Lisbon (Portugal); Adriana Leon, Westham (England); Nichelle Prince, Houston Dash (NWSL); Deanne Rose, Reading (England); Christine Sinclair (Captain), Portland Thorns (NWSL).
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https://globalnews.ca/news/8967133/canadian-women-national-soccer-concacaf-w/ Canadian women want to be attacked at the CONCACAF W Championship in Mexico