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Olympic hopes are on the line when Canada, the women’s soccer champion, takes on Jamaica

Olympic hopes are on the line when Canada, the women’s soccer champion, takes on Jamaica

TORONTO – With their World Cup dreams dashed, the Canadian women’s soccer team will try to avoid the same for their Olympic hopes when they face Jamaica in a back-and-forth match that will determine which team gets a ticket to Paris. Games in 2024.

The CONCACAF region will get two seats in the Olympic tournament in which 12 teams participate, and after the United States has already secured one of these two seats, Canada or Jamaica will get the other seat.

The Canadians have been an Olympic powerhouse with a gold medal and two bronzes at the last three Summer Games, but they will be watching the Paris tournament from home if they can’t pull off a win over Jamaica.

Jamaica will host the first match on Friday (Saturday morning Singapore time) in Kingston, while the second leg will be played on Tuesday at a sold-out BMO Field in Toronto, with the coveted spot going to the team that finishes with the most goals.

“Obviously away (goals) we can’t hide, we have to go out there looking for goals,” Canada coach Bev Priestman said on Thursday.

“We’ve definitely taken a step forward from where we were at the World Cup.”

The Reggae Girlz have lost nine straight matches to Canada, but will enjoy raucous crowd support and a wave of confidence from a hugely successful World Cup, where they reached the round of 16 for the first time.

They were an upset when they drew with major powers France and Brazil and beat Panama for their first ever win in the competition.

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On the other hand, there is concern about the Canadian camp after their modest performance in the World Cup, where they were eliminated in the group stage.

Priestman admitted it was difficult to leave that failure behind, but it also motivated her team, which she said was hungrier than it had been for some time.

While an early exit from the World Cup was a shock, failure to reach Paris would be an even more humiliating setback.

“It’s going to last a while… I don’t think defeat will ever leave you the way you feel,” Priestman added.

“But I feel like the group is in a really good position and there’s obviously a lot at stake. In a lot of ways, that’s probably what we need, to get right back on the horse.”

“It’s still in the pit of your stomach, you feel it, but I think you’re at your most dangerous when you’re coming out of disappointment. I’d like to think this group is hungrier because of this big setback.” Reuters

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