Qualifiers for Women’s World Cup Germany

Stars Soccer Review (SSR) Magazine

 The CONCACAF qualifiers for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany starts with a Group B double header as Costa Rica goes up against Guatemala at 6p.m. and Haiti takes on the heavily favored United States in the second match at 8:30 p.m.

The United States has won six of the previous seven titles, with the other team’s only chance coming in 1998, when USA was the host of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. But the games have to be played and the Americans should not take anything for granted.

Canada kicks off the two group tournament this Friday against Trinidad & Tobago as the first game of the Group A double header at 6p.m. Host Mexico will test debutants Guyana in the second match at 8:30 p.m.

With the CONCACAF Women’s championship title the ultimate goal, the teams (except USA) real objective will be to make the championship final which carries automatic spots to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011.

The CONCACAF Championship third place team will get another chance to qualify for the World Cup via a two-legged (home and away) playoff series, against the fifth place team from Europe, which will be coming from either Italy or Switzerland.

Although USA and Canada are favored to advance to the championship finals, Mexico has been improving steadily and Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago may prove not to be slouches when their backs are inevitably against the wall.

Though T&T Women has not advanced past the first round since the inaugural championship in 1991, (where they finished in third place), their head coach Jamal Shabazz seem to have confidence in the ability of his team while talking to socwarriors.net.

“For a long time we have just participated in CONCACAF tournaments, “but for this World Cup qualifying tournament we’re going to compete with Mexico…we are going to compete with Canada,” says coach Shabazz.

While Canada is favored to win Group A, it stands the best chance to win the championship. However, USA seems to have Canada’s number and has always been the Canucks obstacle. In 2002 and 2006, Canada forced extra time in the final but eventually succumbed.

Canada is under new coach Carolina Morace, who has indicated that her team has a chance to end their 21-game winless streak with USA. But, Coach Morace and the Canucks should not get ahead of themselves, since the group games still have to be won for Canada to advance.

Granted, Canada defeated USA on penalties in the Women’s U-17 semi finals, but Canada will be well advise to approach Friday’s game against T&T as a must win situation in order to come out atop of what seems to be a very interesting group.

Canada three group matches will be broadcast live on CBCSports.ca with an encore presentation on CBC Television. Canada opening match on Friday versus Trinidad and Tobago will air at 7 p.m. live on CBC’s digital channel bold with its encore presentation at 9p.m.

Canada’s second match against Guyana on Sunday October 31 has a live broadcast time of 7p.m. and will encore at 9p.m. The Canucks third match will be its clash with host Mexico on Tuesday November 2 at 9:30p.m. on live CBCSports.ca, and encored on CBC TV at 12pm

The CONCACAF Qualifier runs from October 28 to November 8, with USA expected to win. However, the reigning Olympic champion hasn’t won the World Cup since 1999, while its U-20 Women’s team was eliminated in the quarterfinals at the World Cup in July by Nigeria.

USA U-17 also failed to qualify for the World Cup, after being beaten by Canada on penalties in the semifinals of the CONCACAF championship. Nevertheless, the Americans are real favorites and are unbeaten it’s their last 11 matches this year (9-2-0).

Their unbeaten streak includes a pair of wins over two-time defending World Cup champion Germany and an Algarve Cup title, with the entire U.S. team plays professionally in either the U.S. Women’s Pro Soccer league or in Germany, with forward Alex Morgan the only exception.

But the tournament is in Cancun Mexico, where Mexico’s can pounce on the opportunity before their passionate home crowd to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 12 years since its best finish as runner-up in 1998.

Costa Rica may have the bench strength since it qualified for the U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2008 and the U-20 Women’s World Cup this past year. Haiti and Guyana may not have a chance to advance, but Guyana has a lot of Canadians on its team and may pose a problem for Canada, while Haiti has all to gain, and nothing to lose.

Below are the participating team. Click here for schedule & results!   Click on flags for their profiles

Group A

Costa Rica  Haiti   Guatemala USA     T