Concacaf hopefuls aim to book tickets Down Under
What it does
2023 Australia & New Zealand
The top two finishers in each pool advance to the Women’s World Cup, while the two third-place teams compete in the intercontinental play-offs, a 10-team event that offers three spots in the world championships.
The Concacaf W Championship champions will advance to the women’s Olympic football competition. For the final trip to France from the region, the second-place team will play the third-place squad.
The overwhelming favourites to win two tickets are the USA and Canada, the current world and Olympic champions, respectively. The Americans have gone 14 games without a loss since suffering a 1-0 setback to the Canadians in the Tokyo 2020 semifinals.
The devastating loss of Sam Mewis and Catarina Macario due to injury has been lessened by the captivating rise of teenage forward Sofia Smith. The USWNT also has exceptional, seasoned players in Alyssa Naeher, Rose Lavelle, and Lindsey Horan, and veterans Becky Sauerbrunn, Megan Rapinoe, and Alex Morgan continue to compete at the highest level.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) June 30, 2022
The Canada team has never had more confidence that they can take home the Women’s World Cup. They must first travel there, and Bev Priestman’s side was undoubtedly fortunate in the draw. They have outstanding athletes in Kailen Sheridan, Kadeisha Buchanan, Ashley Lawrence, Jessie Fleming, Jordyn Huitema, Janine Beckie, and Christine Sinclair. Recent successes, including a 1-1 tie with England in Middlesbrough and a triumph over Germany in Norwich, have given them reason for optimism.
— CAN Soccer’s WNT (@CANWNT) June 28, 2022
Mexico is favoured at home and has probably their strongest team ever. Jimena Lopez and Kenti Robles, two defenders who play for OL Reign and Real Madrid, respectively, continue to cast spells in the midfield, while Maricarmen Reyes and Diana Ordonez seem to have bright futures. El Tri has won nine and drawn one of their last six games, including victories over Canada and a 6-1 thumping of Argentina.
Nevertheless, Jamaica poses a threat to ruin Mexico’s party. They have recently benefited from several NWSL players transferring sides, and Khadija Shaw of Manchester City is a formidable opponent for any defence. Meanwhile, Haiti has won six of their past seven games and has one of the most intriguing talents in the French top division in 18-year-old midfielder Melchie Dumornay of Reims.
A strong midfield led by the great Shirley Cruz, Melissa Herrera of Bordeaux, and Raquel Rodriguez of the Portland Thorns will be tasked by Costa Rica with unsettling Canada.
At the most recent Concacaf W Championship, Panama produced a stunning upset of Mexico en way to a personal best fourth place finish, an accomplishment made possible by goalkeeper Yenith Bailey’s valiant efforts. If you can repeat the achievement, Las Canaleras will travel to Australia.
In contrast, Haiti upset Costa Rica 4-2 in their final pre-tournament friendly, and they have a true star in Montpellier attacker Nerilia Mondesir.
It’s much difficult for us because it’s in Mexico. That being said, it’s also thrilling because I believe this young bunch deserves to experience adversity as soon as possible. I’m incredibly excited to have Mexico in our group because they will be playing in front of a packed stadium that will be chanting against us. We can’t enter the World Cup with it being the first competition where they confront that adversity. The most of the folks going there won’t, in my opinion, have dealt with something similar, therefore it will be an excellent learning experience. I simply hope we get some success at the end.
VLATKO ANDONOVSKI INTERVIEW
“You have to pick a team that can win today when you’re entering a major tournament — I very much approached the Olympics in that way. I must carry out that. But you also need to make investments in those players who can represent us well at the 2023 World Cup. It’s a true exercise of balance. However, we do need to get there and act right now.
Coach Bev Preistman from Canada
Figures and facts
- Following Brazilian icon Formiga, Christine Sinclair will be the second player to compete in continental championships two decades apart. The 39-year-old is one of the tournament’s five players over 35. The others are Megan Rapinoe, Shirley Cruz, Carol Sanchez, Becky Sauerbrunn (37), and (all 36).
- The youngest competitors in the competition are Deysire Salazar and Shayari Camarena, both 18 years old.
- Eight players from Alajuelense, including Kenia Rangel of Panama, Noelia Bermudez, Maria Coto, Gabriela Guillen, Lixy Rodriguez, Viviana Chinchilla, Shirley Cruz, and Fabiola Villalobos, are unmatched in the competition. Each of the following teams has seven players: OL Reign, Tauro, Washington Spirit, and Tigres have six.
- At the last Concacaf W Championship, Panama’s Yenith Bailey, who was only 17 at the time, produced an incredible 24 saves across five games, more than double the amount of saves made by any other goalkeeper.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 8, 2018