Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz booked their ticket to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup with a commanding 4-0 thumping of Caribbean neighbors Haiti inside Estadio BBVA Bancomer in Monterrey, Mexico, on Monday night.
Captain Khadija “Bunny” Shaw led the way with a brace, sandwiched by the opener from Trudi Carter and the closer by Drew Spencer.
The win secured Jamaica second place in the competitive Group A behind world champions the USA and confirmed qualification to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals slated for Australia/New Zealand.
It was a second-consecutive qualification for the Reggae Girlz, who made history as the first Caribbean team to qualify for the Senior FIFA Women’s World Cup in the last cycle.
IN the other game played simultaneously, the USA edged hosts Mexico 1-0 to end the preliminary stage on a maximum of nine points, three ahead of Jamaica on six, with Haiti slipping to third place on three. Mexico remained pointless after three defeats.
Haiti will now enter a 10-team playoff in New Zealand next year for another chance to punch a tick to Australia/New Zealand for the showpiece event.
In Group B, Canada defeated Costa Rica 2-0, and Panama condemned Trinidad and Tobago to their third-straight defeat in a 1-0 result.
Canada ended with maximum of nine points, with Costa Rica on six, as both advanced to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals. Panama ended on three points and, like Haiti, will enter those 10-team play-offs, while Trinidad and Tobago ended pointless.
At Estadio BBVA Bancomer, Haiti went close to grabbing the lead when Melchie Dumornay broke away on a solo run which ended with her crashing a left-footer against the left post from inside the penalty area.
Jamaica countered, and captain Shaw had a glorious opportunity to put her team ahead when she miscued a right-sided corner into the waiting arms of goalkeeper Nahomie Ambroise.
However, on 26 minutes, Jamaica was in front thanks to Carter, who took Shaw’s through pass in stride before wrapping her right boot around the ball and away from the flailing right hand of Ambroise to give her team a deserved lead at the interval.
Then early in the second half, a back pass from left wingback Tiernny Wiltshire to Satara Murray at center-back resulted in a slip by the latter, sending Roselord Borgella through on goal at a slight angle on the right, but Spencer advanced, and Borgella kicked the ball wide of the right-hand post.
Shaw made them pay for that miss when she received a pass from the left and cleared her path for a right-footer which was too powerful for Ambroise in the 58th minute.
Desperate for a comeback goal, Haiti pushed forward, and Dumornay unleashed a thunderous right-footer that was destined for goal, only for the superb Spencer to throw herself to her right to palm the ball onto the right upright and into safety just after the hour mark.
And when Carter corked a left-footed shot that came off the defender’s arm inside the penalty area, Shaw stepped up to slam the resulting penalty in the 70th minute to make it 3-0, plunging Haiti deeper into a hole.
Then Spence added the icing to the cake when she nodded home a curling free-kick delivered by Carter on 79 minutes to seal qualification to their second-straight FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Captain Shaw, who played a key role earlier in the campaign, which led to the changing of head coach Vin Blaine and the public backlash on the Reggae Girlz, was ecstatic at the game’s end.
“It means a lot, especially throughout the beginning of the campaign. We came under a lot of pressure, and we just stuck together; we held our composure. We knew once we stuck together and played our game, at the end of the day, we were going to be victorious, and I think it just goes to show that we are a small island, but we can do big things,” said the Manchester City forward.
The Reggae Girlz will now face Group B winner Canada in Thursday’s semi-final, and Shaw believes remaining confident and positive are the key ingredients.
“We just need to remain confident, stay positive and support each other and communicate 100 percent because it shows from the first game. We won the first game, the second game didn’t go according to plan, but we came out here and decided we are going to give it a final push. I think with the confidence of the girls, if we can stick together as a team and continue pushing, I’m sure we can do big things.”
Thursday’s second semi-final pits the US against Costa Rica. The third-place play-off and the final are set for next Monday.
Group A Points Standings
Team P W L D Gf Ga Gd Pts
USA 3 3 0 0 9 0 9 9
Jamaica 3 2 1 0 5 5 0 6
Haiti 3 1 2 0 3 7 -4 3
Mexico 3 0 3 0 0 5 -5 0
Group B Points Standings
Team P W L D Gf Ga Gd Pts
Canada 3 3 0 0 9 0 9 9
Costa Rica 3 2 1 0 7 2 5 6
Panama 3 1 2 0 1 4 -3 3
T&T 3 0 3 0 0 11 -11 0