Canada forward Christine Sinclair (12) celebrates at the conclusion of a soccer match against Panama at the CONCACAF women's World Cup qualifying tournament in Frisco, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Jacobsohn)
FRISCO, Texas — The Canada women’s national soccer team booked its place in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 7-0 victory over Panama in a Concacaf Women’s Championship semifinal matchup Sunday.
The scoring started late with the stingy defensive effort from Panama. In the 44th minute, Canadian Janine Beckie found space on the left flank after combination play. Freeing up more room with some dribbling, Beckie found the head of forward Christine Sinclair, who was unmarked in the box. Sinclair headed the cross past Panama keeper Farissa Cordoba to give Canada a 1-0 lead going into halftime.
The floodgates began to open after both teams came out of the break. Beckie found herself free on the wing once again and played another ball, this time finding Jessie Fleming open in the middle. Fleming shot the ball past Cordoba, expanding the lead to 2-0 in the 47th minute.
Just two minutes later, Sinclair added her 178th career goal with another header off a Beckie cross. Her header caught Cordoba flat-footed and the ball easily went into the net to make it 3-0. It was the same recipe for success: exploit the wings before finding an open target in the middle of the box.
Beckie added a goal of her own in the 58th minute after assisting on the first three. A through ball from Fleming beat all the Panama defense and found Beckie on the wing to make it 4-0.
Canadian forward Nichelle Prince subbed on in the 46th minute and made an impact on the match with her play. In the 63rd minute, a Canadian free kick was flicked on by Prince, who forced another save from Cordoba. Cordoba did not control the save and instead pushed it to the middle, where defender Rebecca Quinn was open for an easy tap-in goal, giving Canada a stable 5-0 lead.
Prince used her pace not once, but twice in the span of two minutes, both to find forward Adriana Leon. Almost carbon-copies of each other, Prince beat the defender on the right-hand side before playing a ball to Leon.
Leon had an easy finish to make it 6-0 in the 77th minute. Prince did it again minutes later, finding Leon for another easy finish to cap the Canadians’ scoring for the night.
Canada will meet the winner of the United States-Jamaica semifinal matchup, which begins at 8 p.m., in Wednesday’s final. Panama will await the loser of that match in the third-place match, with another chance at qualifying for the World Cup on the line.