Guadalupe, Mexico – The CanWNT defeated Costa Rica 2-0 at Estadio BBVA. One of the reasons why Canada won the game was that they got off to about as good of a start as you can ask for yesterday against Costa Rica. Before five minutes had passed, goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan launched a long ball to Nichelle Prince on the left-wing, who played Jessie Fleming in on goal for a near-post finish.
The Chelsea midfielder’s goal would have been enough to secure a victory, but another attack started by a Janine Beckie slaloming run and cross led to a Sophie Schmidt goal, and the game finished 2-0. As commentator Adam Jenkins put it, it was a “vintage” Sophie Schmidt finish, curling around the keeper and inside the far post.
CanWNT defeated Costa Rica 2-0 and progresses to the semi-finals of the Concacaf W Championship
The win secured Canada’s place atop Group B, matching them up with Jamaica on Thursday in the semi-finals. Beverly Priestman’s group advanced to the knockout rounds with a 3-0 record, nine goals scored, and zero conceded.
Sophie Schmidt is the 3rd #CANWNT player to score in three different decades (2000s, 2010s, 2020s). She joins Christine Sinclair and Diana Matheson 🍁#WeCAN @ConcacafW pic.twitter.com/Hf25Lf6Rub
— CAN Soccer’s WNT (@CANWNT) July 12, 2022
Schmidt’s second-half strike also means she becomes the third player to score for the CanWNT in three different decades, joining the elite company of Christine Sinclair and Diana Matheson.
The veteran midfielder spoke with extreme confidence in her team’s ability in the post-game press conference:
“We have our eyes set on what we want, and we know what we need to do to achieve that,” said Schmidt.
Coach Priestman has reiterated the need to finish the abundance of chances the team is generating after every game. Canada has had plenty of possession in all three matches, but there have been moments where they have let their opponents back into games, rather than finishing them off.
With that being said, the 36-year-old U.K. native isn’t stressing over what could have gone wrong, but rather focusing on what has gone well as the CanWNT defeated Costa Rica 2-0:
“Could we have been more clinical? Yes,” said Priestman.
“But at the end of the day, we’ve got three clean sheets, nine points, top of the group, and the goals are coming from different places.”
HIGHLIGHTS @CANWNT 🇨🇦 2-0 🇨🇷
Jessie Fleming and Sophie Schmidt the goalscorers as we top Group B in the 2022 @Concacafw Championship!
📺: @onesoccer#WeCAN pic.twitter.com/ZZa59HOoTL
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) July 12, 2022
CanWNT qualifies for their eighth straight World Cup
Both Costa Rica and Canada had qualified for the World Cup heading into this match, having guaranteed themselves a top-two finish in the group. If the CanWNT can beat Jamaica in the semi-finals, and then the winner of Costa Rica-USA, they will automatically qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
WE'VE BOOKED OUR SPOT! ✈️🏆@CANWNT are going to their 8TH STRAIGHT FIFA Women's World Cup! 🇨🇦#WeCAN #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/4A61fadD56
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) July 9, 2022
Next up: Jamaica
The Canadians will take on Jamaica in the semi-finals Thursday at 10 p.m. EST, live on OneSoccer and CBC. In the three games they have played, the CanWNT defeated Jamaica three times. They won their last matchup 9-0 in 2020 during Olympics qualifying.
Photo Credit: CAN Soccer’s WNT as seen on Twitter above on July 11, 2022.