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Canada to face Jamaica in CONCACAF W Championship semi-finals

After winning their group, Canada will be the favourites against the Reggae Girlz in the semis.

Canada´s players celebrate after defeating Panama at the end of their 2022 Concacaf Women's Championship football match, at the Universitario stadium in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon State, Mexico on July 8, 2022. 
Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images

With the group stage of the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship completed, Bev Priestman and team Canada can say they’ve accomplished their objective to this point: win all three games, win the group, allow no goals.

Whether or not those wins were as dominant would like, hope or expect (with the exception of the final 30 minutes of the Trinidad and Tobago game) is another question.

The team has clinched their spot in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup (kind of bullcrap that the men’s World Cup isn’t stylized the same way, but I digress) jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand. That job is complete. Next up is to get into the 2024 Olympics and the 2024 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup, which will not be hosted by an individual nation but rather teams will play each other in home and away ties in the group stage. These spots can be clinched by winning this tournament, or by winning the CONCACAF Olympic playoff to be held between the runners-up and the third placed team in a two-legged tie in September of 2023.

All that to say, there is a lot to play for, which makes the offensive woes of the team that much more concerning.

Group Stage Recap

Now Derek, you may say, the team scored nine goals in three games, surely that’s okay. Well, dear reader, six of those came against T&T, and with all due respect to the team ranked 76th in FIFA, that should happen. Possibly an even higher amount, seeing as they had a missed penalty and missed the net a further 13 times or so.

They had similar issues against Panama, with a lone Julia Grosso goal the margin of victory with once again a high percentage of shots simply missing the target.

Thankfully, in the Costa Rice game, Jessie Fleming scored in the 5th minute and any plans Costa Rica may have had of defending completely should have gone out the window, yet that’s all they were still really able to do even after Sophie Schmidt made it 2-0. Canada’s attack looked discombobulated in the second half, mind you that could have been the result of the scorching heat they were playing in. This game also failed to feature Julia Grosso, who scored in each of the previous two contests.

Semi-final Preview

Canada takes on 51st ranked Jamaica on Thursday night at 10 Eastern (or a nice, comfortable 7 Pacific for some of us). Jamaica beat hosts Mexico 1-0 to start their tournament before losing 5-0 to the USA, with help from a brace from Sophia Smith, a teammate of Christine Sinclair and Janine Beckie with the Portland Thorns. Jamaica rebounded to win a very important game 4-0 against Haiti to qualify for just their second ever FIFA Women’s World Cup. Manchester City product Khadija Shaw had two goals and an assist in the game, and is tied for the tournament lead on three goals with Canada’s Julia Grosso.

The two nations have met eight previous times. Canada is 8-0-0 in those matches, with 57 goals for and one against, and that goal against came in an 11-1 win at the 2007 Pan Am Games, a match in which Christine Sinclair scored goals 75 through 78 of her international career. She has only managed to score 112 since then...

This will be the later game on Thursday, with the USA v Costa Rica game being played under the hot Monterrey sun, as opposed to under the hot Monterrey night sky, as temperatures will likely still be above 30 Celsius at kickoff for Canada’s match, which can be viewed on OneSoccer, or CBC if you never sleep.