CARSON, Calif. — The greatest participant in Canadian soccer historical past, Christine Sinclair, is headed again to the Olympics at age 36. Her ticket was punched by her inheritor obvious, Jordyn Huitema, who is just 18.
The Canadian ladies’s soccer workforce certified for its fourth straight Olympics on Friday by beating Costa Rica, 1-Zero, within the semifinals of the Concacaf qualifying match.
Huitema offered the one aim, breaking by way of after a feisty — and surprisingly aggressive — first 71 minutes. Her aim was directly unintentional and scientific. Meeting a pushed cross from Kadeisha Buchanan within the aim mouth, Huitema calmly redirected the ball towards the left put up together with her left foot — solely to see it carom proper again to her.
An unfazed Huitema, who made her senior nationwide workforce debut as a 15-year-old in 2017, calmly met the ricochet together with her proper foot and slotted her second likelihood inside the precise put up.
The reduction for Canada — which is no stranger to disappointment in international play but usually breezes past Concacaf opponents other than the United States — was palpable. Teammates mobbed Huitema, and the fight seemed to run out of the Costa Ricans.
When the final whistle blew, Canada’s substitutes raced onto the field for a round of joyful hugs. A brief postgame circle after the celebrations broke with a chant of “1-2-3: Tokyo!”
Canada advanced to Sunday’s final, where it is likely to face an old nemesis: the United States, which was to play Mexico later Friday in the second Concacaf semifinal. As with the first semifinal, the winner will advance to the Tokyo Games.
The United States is one of three countries — along with Brazil and Sweden — to have participated in every Olympic women’s soccer tournament since the sport was added to the Summer Games program in 1996. The Americans won four golds and a silver in the first five tournaments before their stunning elimination by Sweden in the quarterfinals in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Canada, the bronze medalist in London in 2012 and again at the Games in 2016, became the seventh nation to claim its place in the 12-team Olympic field. It joins the host, Japan; Brazil; New Zealand; and the three European qualifiers: Great Britain, Sweden and the Netherlands.
The penultimate round of Asia’s qualifying tournament is currently being played in two groups, in South Korea and Australia. The latter four-team group, which includes the favorites Australia and China, was originally scheduled to play in Wuhan, China, but was moved to Australia last month because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The delegation from China arrived in Brisbane without several of its players, and was immediately quarantined in a hotel.
Despite having to practice in hallways, the Chinese opened with a 6-1 victory against Thailand on Friday.
The Olympic women’s tournament begins July 22, two days before the opening ceremony in Tokyo.