France 2019 joy for North American heavyweights
Canada and USA secure France 2019 berths
Two heavyweights will face each other in tantalising CONCACAF final
Veterans speak of qualification delight
Stars of Canada and USA were naturally delighted to seal their passage to the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ after substantial semi-final victories in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship.
Canada booked their place at France 2019 with a 7-0 victory over Panama, while 2015 winners USA became the 17th nation to secure their spot at next year’s global finals with a 6-0 win over Jamaica.
Set to play in her fifth Women’s World Cup at France 2019, veteran Canadian forward Christine Sinclair, 35, is no stranger to reaching the global finals – and Canada’s record appearance holder and scorer has big ambitions for next year.
"It’s something you can never take for granted, qualifying for a World Cup and representing your country on the biggest stage," said Sinclair, after netting a brace against Panama. "We’re going there hoping to win it.
"But we’ll enjoy this [victory] tonight and focus on that in a while," she smiled.
The 2015 Women’s World Cup hosts were joined in booking their passage to France by the 2015 winners. USA’s victory over Jamaica sets up a tantalising CONCACAF final between the two North American heavyweights on 17 October.
While Becky Sauerbrunn admits USA’s primary goal in the tournament was to qualify for the global finals, the Stars and Stripes are wanting to go to France as the conquerors of CONCACAF.
"The whole point is to punch our ticket to France and we’ve done that. Now, we want to win this tournament and be the number one out of CONCACAF," said Sauerbrunn.
"Canada are a regional foe and are always tough to play against. We’re really excited, we feel like we’re playing well right now. We kept a clean sheet which is great so we’re looking forward to playing really great competition."
As well as helping secure her country’s berth at France 2019, Canada’s Diana Matheson had double reason to celebrate by reaching 200 senior international appearances in her country’s victory over Panama.
The midfielder is targeting continental glory with Canada in order to boost their France 2019 cause.
"We’re in it to win the tournament," she said. "USA-Canada is always a game to look forward to for both teams who always relish that opportunity. Winning CONCACAF means something, we could be better seeded for the World Cup. We’re absolutely going to fight for that."