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Canada defeats Jamaica to clinch its Olympic berth

Canada defeats Jamaica to clinch its Olympic berth

Canada players © Gallo Images

Canada will have the opportunity to defend its Olympic women’s soccer gold medal after clinching a spot at next year’s Summer Games in Paris on Tuesday with a 2-1 win over Jamaica.

Canada went into the second leg in control of its own destiny with a 2-0 win away to Kingston on Friday, and after an early scare produced the result the home crowd saw, blowing the ticket to Paris convincingly with a 4-1 win. On the total.

The Canadians join the United States in the 12-team Olympic tournament, and the Americans had earlier clinched one of the two spots in the CONCACAF region.

“I’ve been thinking about this game since the moment the World Cup ended, so everyone made a real change to do everything they could to turn this around,” Canada coach Bev Priestman said.

He added: “This team is better when it strives for something, and in the end we are seeking a mistake in the World Cup.”

Qualifying for the Olympics provided a small amount of compensation after a disappointing performance at the Women’s World Cup, where Canada failed to make it out of the group stage.

Canada has won two gold medals and two bronze medals in women’s soccer at the last three Summer Games, but Priestman admitted there is a lot of work ahead for her team if they want to get back on the podium in Paris.

“It’s exciting but I’m not going to walk away in any way because we have some real hard work to do,” Priestman said.

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He added: “Going up and getting on the podium again, as you just saw in the World Cup, will be more difficult than ever.”

Powered by their raucous home crowd, Canada applied all the early pressure but against the run of play, the Reggae Girlz took a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute after a brilliant free kick from Drew Spence from outside the box. Top corner after Kailyn Sheridan’s dive.

The goal shook up the Canadian team as they began to attack with more venom. Ashley Lawrence was denied an equalizer when her long-range shot was blocked by Rebecca Spencer.

But the Canadian project got reward in the 39th minute when Chloe Lacasse headed home Adriana Leon’s corner kick to send the teams into halftime tied at 1-1.

A header from Jordin Heitema five minutes into the second half put Canada ahead, sparking celebrations that continued until the final whistle.

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