Canada begins FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification campaign at Concacaf Championship
Canada Women’s National Team has arrived in Edinburg, Texas to begin the group stage at the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship in its bid to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ taking place next summer.
“We just concluded a training camp here in Texas and the team has come together well, so we are confident going into the group stage that we will perform for Canadian fans,” said Head Coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller. “We’ve benefited from three big international matches against France, Germany and Brazil as well as the Algarve Cup this year, so this team has had several opportunities to prepare for this important qualification campaign and that is apparent from what we’ve seen since arriving in Texas.”
Drawn into Group B, Canada’s 20-player squad will face Jamaica on Friday, 5 October at 19:30 Local (20:30 ET/17:30 PT), followed by Canada v Cuba on Monday, 8 October at 19:30 Local (20:30 ET/17:30 PT) and Canada v Costa Rica on Thursday, 11 October at 21:00 Local (22:00 ET/19:00 PT). Following the group stage, all matches will be played at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
“We are looking forward to each game of the groups stage because they will all present different challenges for us. We haven’t had much opportunity to play, or even see Jamaica and Cuba play, so we’ve to a degree been preparing for surprises they could launch at us, but also focusing on being able to execute our game plan against these teams regardless of what they bring to the pitch. On the other side, we’ve had several experiences with Costa Rica over the past few years, so we’ve been focusing more on how we bring out tactical game plan forward. We are certainly very excited to get the tournament started so we are really looking forward to the first whistle,” added Heiner-Moller.
Canada, currently ranked 5th in the FIFA World Rankings, will open the tournament against Jamaica, ranked 71st internationally. Jamaica has yet to register a win against Canada over six matches in international competition, but have shown strong development recently and has just come off a very successful Caribbean tournament to qualify for the Concacaf Women’s Championship, going undefeated.
“Throughout this year Jamaica has been performing better and better, with their best performances against Columbia with a 2:1 win, and a great performance against Costa Rica, where they lost 2:1 on a penalty in the 95th minute,” said Heiner-Moller. “We are preparing for Jamaica to have some very interesting young players up front with pace and physique, which should make for an exciting opening match!”
Canada’s second group stage match will see them play Cuba who is making its debut in the confederation championship. Ranked 85th of 177 national teams by FIFA, Cuba is coming into the competition having snagged the final Caribbean spot after finishing third in that qualification tournament. Canada has only played Cuba once, defeating it 2:0 in the 2012 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Vancouver, BC.
Canada’s third and final group stage opponent Costa Rica is a more well-known foe. Ranked 33rd by FIFA, Costa Rica has been moving up the rankings and is coming off a victory at the Central American Zone qualification tournament. Costa Rica’s sweep of their qualification tournament brings their 2018 record to eight wins and two losses.
Costa Rica were runners up at the Concacaf Women’s Championship in 2014 and qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™.
Canada recently welcomed Costa Rica to Winnipeg and Toronto in the summer of 2017, taking both games 3:1 and 6:0.
Canada has made one roster change prior to the tournament with Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan replacing an injured Erin McLeod.
On the other side of the table, USA, Mexico, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago will compete in Group A in Cary, N.C. The winners of the two semi-final matches on Sunday, 14 October will automatically qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™, as well as the winners of the 3rd place match scheduled for Wednesday, 17 October. The final taking place on Wednesday, 17 October, will determine the continental champions.
The WSU Team bringing you news and updates from the world of women’s football.