The final day of CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying did not disappoint.
Normally, this area is saved for coverage of the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros. However, HEB Park was privileged to host Women’s World Cup Qualifying. The last match day was filled with one question: who would go through? Canada had the upper hand with six points and a plus 12 goal difference. Then, there was Costa Rica and Jamaica each with three points. More over, the goal difference was a bit of an issue because Costa Rica was at plus seven and Jamaica at minus one. Cuba, already eliminated, was hoping to play spoiler. How did everything play out?
Cuba vs. Jamaica (Match 11)
Jamaica had previously played Cuba in the Carribean zone qualifier and defeated them 6-1. However, the match in Edinburg, Texas would have bigger implications. A win by any margin for Jamaica would mean possible qualification. A Cuba win would mean that Costa Rica and Canada would go through unless Canada would win by a margin of seven. Jamaica would get their offense going early as Khadija Shaw would score an early goal in the third minute of play. Cuba would buckle down on defense and would stop a barrage of Jamaica attacks. However, in the 30th minute, Jody Brown scored the first of her three goals to make it 2-0. The run of goals continued as Sashana Campbell made it 3-0 as Jamaica goal difference would now go in a positive difference. Brown added her second goal before the break to make it 4-0.
In the second half, Jamaica would score five goals including the Brown’s third of the night and a spot kick by Deneisha Blackwood to make it a massive 9-0 victory. With the result, Jamaica would have to wait for a result between Costa Rica and Canada.
Costa Rica vs. Canada (Final Group Match)
The Jamaica victory from the previous match meant that Costa Rica needed a win by any margin over Canada. However, from a historical point of view, Canada was 12-0-0 against Costa Rica all time. The meeting on Thursday would be a crucial one. A Canada win would mean they face Panama and Jamaica would face the United States. A Costa Rica win by any margin meant they would face the United States and Canada, with the vast goal difference, would face Panama.
The first half of the match was a tense one as Costa Rica sat deep on their end awaiting each Canadian attack and trying to create some of their own offense. However, in the 26th minute, Janine Beckie broke the scoreless game for the Canadians for a 1-0 advantage. Before the break, Nichelle Prince scored the second goal of the match to make it 2-0.
In the second half, Christine Sinclair made it 3-0 to put the game out of reach, sealing their win. Costa Rica would not go quietly as Gloriana Villalobos scored a consolation goal to make it 3-1. The goal for Costa Rica was the only goal that Canada would concede against in the group stage with 17 in favor and one against.
What’s Next for Group B participants
Canada and Jamaica advance to the final round in Frisco, TX, home of FC Dallas. Canada will face Panama in one semifinal and Jamaica will take on the United States in the other. The two winners qualify for the Women’s World Cup in France next year. The losers (third place match) would face each other and the winner of that match gets the last automatic spot towards the World Cup in France. The loser of the third-place match would then play Argentina in a home and home series in early November.
Upcoming Block (Blog)
Next week, the blog will return to the normal topic (RGV FC Toros) and a recap of their 2o18 season and how the roster could shape up for next season.
Photo credit to Cesar Cortez of Down in the Valley Podcast