Canada test for Jamaica's Girlz
Andrew Price, assistant coach of Jamaica's Reggae Girlz, says that the players will have nothing to fear when they tackle fifth-ranked Canada in their opening game of the CONCACAF final round World Cup qualifier in Houston, Texas today. Match time is 7:30 p.m.
"We look at it as a tough assignment, but it is something that we are prepared for," said Price. "We know that the Canadian team is the fifth-ranked team in the world, but we believe that we have quality players who can compete with them," he said. "It is just about having a proper defensive shape for the entire game and when we get our opportunities, use our pace, and see if we can get behind their defensive unit," Price said.
The Reggae Girlz have done well in their preparations for the tournament this year. This preparation included winning the Caribbean tournament on home soil in August. Price added that he is confident that the Girlz will do well in the tournament.
"It will be good to get a positive result out of this first game and so we are going there with that mindset," said Price. "We respect the Canadians, but we don't fear them, so it is just means going out there and executing the instructions that the coaching staff have given the team and play well within ourselves," he said. Cuba and Costa Rica are the other other teams in the Group B.
One of the key players for Jamaica is forward Khadija Shaw who scored eight goals to lead the team to victory in the CONCACAF Caribbean Championships.
Number-one-ranked team in the region, USA, will play in Group A with Mexico, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago in Cary, North Carolina.
The semi-finals are scheduled for October 14 in Frisco, Texas, where the third-place game and championship will take place three days later.
The semi-final winners and third-place winners qualify for the 24-nation field at the World Cup, to be played from June 7 to July 7, 2019. The fourth place team will advance to a home-and-away playoff against Argentina for another berth.