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Canadian women qualify for 2023 World Cup with win over Panama


MONTERREY, Mexico — It wasn’t fairly however Canada acquired the job completed Friday in downing a cussed Panama aspect 1-0 on the CONCACAF W Championship to qualify for the 2023 World Cup.

Costa Rica’s 4-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago earlier within the day meant beating Panama would safe qualification for the Canadian ladies with one group recreation remaining on the eight-team event.

Effectively 57 Panama didn’t make it straightforward for sixth-ranked Canada on a windy night time at Estadio Universitario.

Canada dominated play with Panama seeking to frustrate, counting on fouls to interrupt up the motion — usually delaying the following free kicks by not retreating from the ball.

Panama gamers additionally went down usually with the group’s trainers getting a exercise, trundling onto the sphere with regularity.

“It is an amazing studying expertise,” stated Canada coach Bev Priestman. “Was it ok? Effectively And everybody is aware of that. However we gained. . . and we transfer on.”

Friday’s outcome assured Olympic champion Canada (2-0-0) of a top-two end in Pool B and a berth within the semifinals, which suggests making the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Effectively 37 Costa Rica (2-0-0) has additionally certified from Canada’s group.

The third-placed group in every group strikes on to a World Cup intercontinental playoff.

Canada’s breakthrough got here within the sixty fourth minute by way of Julia Grosso, who opened her senior scoring account with two targets off the bench in Tuesday’s 6-0 win over No. 76 Trinidad and Tobago.

A Panama defender tried to clear a Jessie Fleming cross solely to see the ball go proper to Grosso.

The 21-year-old Juventus midfielder neatly shifted the ball to evade a defender and poked it house.

“Credit score Julia. She stepped up and he or she put the ball within the internet once more,” stated Priestman.

Canada had 69 p.c possession and outshot Panama 12-4 (7-2 in photographs heading in the right direction). Panama opted for a low block, stringing defenders throughout the sphere.

Priestman gave Panama credit score for its adverse, time-wasting techniques, saying “I imply it labored.”

Canada’s coach additionally noticed it as an indication of respect for her group. Priestman’s message at halftime was one among disappointment.

“I assumed the first-half efficiency, we weren’t ok,” she stated.

“Our requirements dropped and I feel the gamers would agree with that. However second half, I used to be proud of how they got here out, to get again to our degree.”

The Canadians wrap up pool play Monday towards Costa Rica to determine who tops Pool B.

That doubtless means avoiding the top-ranked US, who has additionally certified for the World Cup, within the semifinals.

The CONCACAF event doubles as a qualifier for each the 2023 World Cup and 2024 Olympics.

Solely the CONCACAF winner is assured of an Olympic berth, in addition to a ticket to the inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup, to be held in 2024.

The runner-up and third-place groups will meet in a CONCACAF Olympic play-in sequence, scheduled for September 2023, with the winner additionally qualifying for the Paris Olympics and CONCACAF W Gold Cup.

The World Cup includes a 32-team subject, in comparison with simply 12 within the Olympic Video games.

Canada certified for seven of the eight earlier World Cups, lacking out within the inaugural 1991 occasion in China when the US was the lone CONCACAF consultant within the then-12-country subject.

Canada, which hosted the occasion in 2015, had its greatest displaying in 2003 when it completed fourth.

After enjoying within the 53,500-capacity Estadio BBVA — house to CF Monterrey — in suburban Guadalupe on Tuesday, Canada moved to Estadio Universitario on Friday.

Generally known as El Volcan (The Volcano), the 41,600-capacity stadium in Monterrey is house to Tigres UANL.

Priestman made 5 adjustments to her beginning lineup, slotting in goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo, Grosso, Shelina Zadorsky, Adriana Leon and Nichelle Prince. Janine Beckie shifted again to fullback from ahead.

Captain Christine Sinclair, who scored her world-record one hundred and ninetieth worldwide objective within the event opener, made her 313th look for Canada — and her 306th begin.

Canada had 71 per cent possession in a scoreless first half, however that didn’t translate into gilt-edged scoring probabilities.

The Canadians had a 6-2 edge in photographs (2-1 heading in the right direction) as Panama defended in numbers and tried to decelerate play each time it may.

Canada got here shut within the nineteenth minute when Leon’s header flashed excessive. Two minutes later, Panama captain Laurie Batista noticed her long-range effort fly simply over the Canadian crossbar.

Sandwiched by two Panama defenders, Prince was taken down simply contained in the penalty field within the twenty seventh minute, however the potential penalty name was negated by an offside flag.

The sport paused because it went to video assessment, however nothing got here out of it.

D’Angelo made her first save within the thirty eighth minute, a cushty cease of a Marta Cox free kick from nicely exterior the penalty field.

On the different finish, Prince poked the ball simply extensive within the forty second after Panama didn’t clear a free kick.

Priestman despatched on striker Cloe Lacasse and fullback Jayde Riviere instead of Sinclair and Prince at half.

And Leon compelled an acrobatic diving save from Yenith Bailey within the forty sixth minute.

Jordyn Huitema and Quinn, who goes by one title, got here on for Canada within the 57th.

Panama’s Rosario Vargas got here shut with one other long-range shot within the eightieth that sailed simply over the crossbar.

The Canadian ladies have by no means misplaced to Panama, outscoring the 57th-ranked group 13-0 of their two earlier conferences.

Sinclair scored twice the final time Canada confronted Panama — a 7-0 win in October 2018 on the CONCACAF Ladies’s Championship that earned Canada a berth within the 2019 World Cup in France.

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