PREVIEW – The CanWNT battle for first place with Costa Rica in Group B. Both teams have already booked their tickets to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023. However, there is still a lot on the line for both teams in the Concacaf W Championship.
The CanWNT battle for first place in Group B
The CanWNT will play at Estadio BBVA on Monday in the Concacaf W Championship with first place in the group in mind. However, they will come into this game, feeling they have more to offer. They had trouble scoring against Panama on Friday, despite some defensive lapses by Panama in the first half. This is what Beverly Priestman said about what this game means for future games according to the Canadian Press:
“The most important thing for us now is we move past that game,” Priestman said Sunday. “It wasn’t perfect. It got the job done. But I think we need a game now where those sorts of antics don’t disrupt the rhythm … This game is where we can hopefully get our flow and kick on because I think we need that test heading into the games in front of us.”
79’ What a memorable game for Julia Grosso, who scored her second international goal today for the #CanWNT! #AttackingThird#CANvTRI | 3-0 | #WeBelong pic.twitter.com/TGsNIUM6rE
— Last Word on Soccer (@LastWordSC) July 6, 2022
A big bright spot though is Julia Grosso. The midfielder from Serie A club, Juventus, has currently been the leading goal-scorer for the team in this tournament. She has scored three goals in two games. This included Grosso scoring two goals against Trinidad and Tobago in a 6-0 win over the Women Soca Warriors and scoring the game-winning goal that gave the CanWNT their eighth-straight FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance. Priestman commented on this as she said this according to Canada Soccer: “We’re off to a World Cup and that’s the main thing.”
Like with the CanWNT, Costa Rica has also qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The toughest adversary for the CanWNT qualifying for the last Summer Olympics has come up with some impressive performances. A 4-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago and a 3-0 win over Panama have both the CanWNT and Costa Rica equal on points with the same goal-differential.
What a way to mark Shirley Cruz's 100th appearance for Costa Rica 👏 pic.twitter.com/QMeJ7HULrO
— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) July 9, 2022
This is only Costa Rica’s second-ever time making the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The last time they qualified for the World Cup was in 2015, which was hosted by Canada. This is what the Costa Rica head coach, Amelia Valverde, said according to José Fernando Araya of Teletica:
“I am very proud of the group, grateful to the coaching staff, to the entire support group, not only here, but in Costa Rica, in the Federation and so on, and maybe that is what invades me a little more than a lot of pride,” said the coach.
One player to keep in mind is Shirley Cruz. The midfielder for Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, who last played for the OL Reign of the NWSL, and also the Costa Rican national team captain just earned her 100 caps in the game against Trinidad and Tobago.
She has played with the national team since 2002, scoring 29 goals in 92 games. Cruz definitely understands the moment and what it means, calling “qualifying for a World Cup is a source of pride,” according to Adrián García of Teletica.com.
CanWNT battle for first place overview
Needed goals, eh? 🍁
Huitema ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/TCwbndYChn
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) July 6, 2022
Prediction: CanWNT 1 Costa Rica 0
This is going to be a tough game for the CanWNT. It will be just like the game where the CanWNT got past Costa Rica 1-0 to qualify for the Summer Olympics. Yes, Costa Rica has never defeated the Canadians. They have never scored more than one goal in one game against Canada. The quality of Costa Rica though cannot be underestimated.
This is what Priestman said about the Costa Ricans according to John Molinaro of CBC Sports:
“They’ve got some good players,” said Priestman. “[They’ve got] a strong right side that we need to take care of.”
Priestman is referring to Raquel Rodriguez, a forward who plays for the Portland Thorns FC. The same team that CanWNT Janine Beckie and Christine Sinclair play for. Rodriguez has made 73 appearances and has scored 43 goals in those games.
Of course, Costa Rica has to be aware of some Canadian players as well. Beckie in particular can create several scoring chances for his teammates just like in the game against Nigeria at BC Place. There is also Sinclair, who has made 312 appearances and scored an international record of 190 goals in her career.
Games coming up and scenarios for finishing first in Group B
The CanWNT battle against Costa Rica for first in Group B. If this game ends in a draw, the team with fewer yellow cards finishes first in the group. If both teams have the same amount of yellow cards, Canada will finish first as they were in Pot 1 and Costa Rica was in Pot 2 when the groups were drawn. Right now, Canada has the advantage with fewer yellow cards than Costa Rica. A win for either Canada or Costa Rica would mean that team finishes first in Group B.
The game between the CanWNT and Costa Rica will kick off at 7:00 p.m. ET today. The game will be televised live on CBC and will also be shown on OneSoccer and Telus. It will take place in Guadalupe at Estadio BBVA.
Photo Credit: Canada Soccer on July 6, 2022.