- USA crowned 2018 CONCACAF champions
- Jamaica finish third, becoming first Caribbean nation to qualify for Women's World Cup
- Runners-up Canada headed to seventh consecutive world finals
On one hand, the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship threw up a somewhat expected conclusion: in the tenth edition of the regional competition, USA lifted the title for the eighth time.
On the other hand, there was a surprise: Jamaica became the first Caribbean nation to qualify for the senior FIFA Women's World Cup™.
USA waltzed their way to the final, scoring 24 goals and conceding none before facing perennial rivals Canada, who offered the sternest test by far for Jill Ellis' side. Ultimately, strikes from Rose Lavelle and tournament top scorer Alex Morgan (seven goals) in each half were enough for a 2-0 victory in the final, seeing the Stars and Stripes finish the continental championship with 26 goals scored and zero conceded after five matches.
Earlier in the day in the match for third place, Jamaica overcame Panama 4-2 on penalties after the match ended level at 2-2 after extra time to make history for the Caribbean nation.
Fourth-placed side Panama will have one last opportunity to make next year’s world finals, as they will meet Argentina in an intercontinental play-off next month.
FIFA.com looks at some of the main storylines from the 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship.
Panama goalkeeper Yenith Bailey is no longer an unknown name after her performances in goal throughout the tournament. The 17-year-old made 32 saves, kept two clean sheets and came up with multiple vital stops that were a key part of Panama’s success. Bailey epitomised everything about Panama’s breakthrough competition. She starred in their 2-0 win over Mexico - a nation who qualified for the last two Women’s World Cups - which was one of the tournament's more surprising results.
USA’s young guns firing
Teams at France 2019 will know all about the threat of players like Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath in USA’s free-flowing attack, but there are a crop of youngsters that they will need to keep a close watch on. Midfielder Lindsey Horan, who played for Paris Saint-Germain for a spell and who will be in familiar surroundings next summer, has taken her game to the next level. The 24-year-old won the 2018 National Women’s Soccer League Most Valuable Player award and registered five assists during the tournament. Twenty-three-year-old Rose Lavelle scored three goals during the tournament and crucially grabbed the opening goal in the final against Canada.
Canada's bright future
Although they’ll return home disappointed having not brought back the regional title, there is plenty to be positive about for Canada heading into France next summer. Their squad included five teenagers at the beginning of the tournament in Jordyn Huitema (17), Julia Grosso (18), Emma Regan (18), Gabrielle Carle (19, now 20) and Deanne Rose (19). Notably, Huitema scored four goals during the qualifying competition, the same amount as Canada legend Christine Sinclair, who now has the second-highest goal haul of any international player (177).
CONCACAF Women's Championship Awards
Golden Ball: Julie Ertz (USA)
Golden Boot: Alex Morgan (USA)
Golden Glove: Yenith Bailey (Panama)
Young Player: Jody Brown (Jamaica)
Fair Play: USA
Best XI: Bailey (PAN), Rebecca Quinn (CAN), Kelley O'Hara (USA), Abby Dahlkemper (USA), Crystal Dunn (USA), Jessie Fleming (CAN), Lindsey Horan (USA), Ertz (USA), Tobin Heath (USA), Megan Rapinoe (USA) and Morgan (USA)
"I feel like we still have a lot of work to do, but we feel good. Keeping a clean sheet all the way through the tournament, no goals at all, that’s huge for us. The defence was super solid. To come out against a good team like Canada, that’s going to be at the World Cup and getting in to the extra rounds, is big for us."
USA forward Megan Rapinoe, speaking with Fox Soccer
8 CONCACAF Women's Championship titles for USA, with the 2018 victory their fifth from six editions since 2000. No other country has won the competition more than twice.