USA and Canada reached the Women's Olympic Football Tournament for the second consecutive time by posting semi-final wins at the CONCACAF women's Olympic soccer tournament in a double-header yesterday.
The two teams will meet tomorrow for the CONCACAF championship. As both teams have already qualified, the game will be purely for bragging rights in the North, Central America and Caribbean region.
Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd and second-half substitute Alex Morgan scored for USA, who outscored their opposition 34-0 in this competition. Heath finished a rebound in the 16th minute, Lloyd struck from the edge of the penalty area in the 72nd minute before Morgan sealed Costa Rica's fate in the 89th minute.
"We celebrated. It was the first time we celebrated [at the tournament]," goalkeeper Hope Solo said. "It was a sigh of relief. We gave hugs to everybody. You could tell it was all right. We are London bound. It was time to relax a little. We have a final match and it's going to be a great game. And we're going to London."
"These kind of experiences are the ones that we need for Costa Rica to get better and grow. I'm not upset with my players. I'm very proud of them. They did a great job. I wish I could have had a chance with the national team T-shirt and wearing it."
Not only have the Americans never missed any of the five Women's Olympic Football Tournaments, they have never missed a final, winning three gold medals and a silver.
Canada survived a late rally by the Mexicans, who applied great pressure on the host team in front of a crowd of 22,954, which was a CONCACAF Olympic women's attendance record.
Sinclair reaches goalscoring landmark
Christine Sinclair, who has a tournament-high nine goals, inspired Canada with a strike in each half as she surpassed Germany's Birgit Prinz to move into a third-placed tie with Wambach on the all-time women's goalscoring list. Sinclair and Wambach trail only USA's Mia Hamm, on 158, and Kristine Lilly with 130.
The Canadians struck twice in the opening half as Sinclair connected from nine yards in the 15th minute and Melissa Tancredi converted from six yards in the 23rd minute. Veronica Perez reduced the lead in the 67th minute, but Sinclair pulled Canada two goals clear again by chipping goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago from 12 yards.
"We're off to London," Canada coach John Herdman said. "Some great news. No job done yet. We want to get there in the final and go against the States. It's been an amazing journey. These players are a wonderful bunch. They're an inspiration to their country.
"They knew what they had on their shoulders tonight. It's no way they were going to let Mexico trip them over in their own country in their own stadium in front of their own fans. That was the energy that you see. That's what was driving them tonight."