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Canadian women’s national team qualifies for seventh straight World Cup

A pair of goal from Christine Sinclair leads the way

Soccer: 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship-Panama at Canada Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Canadian women’s national team has qualified for the 2019 World Cup in France after a 7-0 win over Panama in the Concacaf women’s championship semi-finals. Canada will meet the winner of USA and Jamaica in the tournament final.

Christine Sinclair scored twice, and is now eight goals away from passing Abby Wambach for most goals scored in women’s international history. Substitute Adriana Leon also had a pair of goals and is now leading the tournament in scoring with six goals. Jessie Fleming, Rebecca Quinn and Janine Beckie also found the back of the net for Canada.

The Canadians struggled a bit during the first half, as a tough Panama side gave them little in front of goal. However, after the half Canada took over scoring early and often en route to a six goal second frame.

Canada won the last Concacaf women’s championship in which they participated, in 2010. They will look to do the same on Wednesday in the tournament final.

78’ Goal Adriana Leon again - It’s replay time as Prince crosses to Leon again. This time an incredible finish from Leon though, who now has six in the tournament.

76’- Goal Adriana Leon - The substitutes combine as Nichelle Prince crosses for Adriana Leon. It’s Leon’s fifth goal of the tournament for Canada, which is currently tournament leading.

63’ - Goal Rebecca Quinn Canada gets their fifth of the match off of a free kick and a bobble by the Panama keeper. Quinn is there to tap home.

57’ - Goal Janine Beckie That’s class from Beckie, great finish as she pokes the ball across goal and Canada has well and truly taken over this match.

49’- Goal Christine Sinclair! Only eight away from passing Wambach now! Another cross and another header as Canada look to have really found their way through now.

48’ - Goal Fleming! That’s much better from Canada to start the second half. Some great movement down the left flank ends up on the boot of Diana Matheson, who crosses for Jessie Fleming. Fleming finishes with a nice glancing header.

Half-time - Nearly 70 per cent possession for Canada in the first half but they likely won’t be too content with their performance. Canada hasn’t been quick or direct enough in their attack, and it has given Panama plenty of time to get set defensively. With that being said, however, Canada is now only 45 minutes away from World Cup qualification and Panama haven’t offered much at all going forward.

44’ - Goal Christine Sinclair Some great play from Beckie down the flank finds Christine Sinclair with the cross who heads home. Canada has really struggled to create legitimate opportunities during the half despite plenty of possession. The captain, however, is now only nine goals away from passing Abby Wambach for the most international goals in women’s soccer history.

9’ Janine Beckie played through and Christine Sinclair puts the ball into the back of the Panama net but it has been judged to be offside. Upon reply appears to have been the wrong play so Panama might have got away with one there.

1’ - Kickoff!

Tonight will be the first real test for Kenneth Heiner-Møller as head coach of the Canadian women’s national team. John Herdman’s replacement has led Canada against some of the best teams in the world since taking over in January.

It’s now world 70th-ranked Panama, however, that stands between his side and a seventh straight women’s World Cup appearance. Qualifying for France 2019 is the bare minimum expectation for Canada, who are currently ranked fifth in the world.

To date it has been relatively easy going for Canada in the Concacaf Women’s Championship, the tournament that serves as World Cup qualifying for North America. Three straight victories, 2-0 over Jamaica, 12-0 over Cuba and 3-1 over Costa Rica gave Canada a simple pass to the tournament semi-finals.

A win over Panama would give Canada an automatic berth in the World Cup and a spot in Wednesday’s tournament final. That match could potentially give them a chance to beat their rivals from the United States.

Should Canada lose, they still have a chance to qualify by beating the loser of the Jamaica-United States semi-final in the third place game.

Canada did not participate in the 2014 edition of the Concacaf Women’s Championship as they had already qualified as the 2015 tournament hosts. They won the competition the last time they appeared, in 2010, when the United States were shocked by Mexico in the semis.

It was Mexico that many projected would test Canada in the semi-finals of this tournament. However, El Tri were stunned 2-0 by Panama in their final group game as part of a generally disappointing tournament for an improving program.

Only the United States have scored more goals at this year’s tournament than Canada, who have 16. Adriana Leon and 17-year-old Jordyn Huitema share the tournament scoring lead with Alex Morgan of the United States after scoring four goals each against Cuba.

Christine Sinclair, meanwhile, has scored twice during the tournament. She is now just ten goals away from passing Abby Wambach for most international goals in women’s soccer history.

How to Watch

Match date/time: Sunday, October 13, 5 p.m. EST

TV channel: N/A

Live stream: Concacaf Oz

Radio: N/A