Football: US women headed back to World Cup after rout of Jamaica, Canada join them by whacking Panama

The US secured their berth in next year's Women's World Cup with a 6-0 rout of Jamaica.
The US secured their berth in next year's Women's World Cup with a 6-0 rout of Jamaica.PHOTO: REUTERS/USA TODAY SPORTS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The United States will defend their Women's World Cup football title next year, securing their berth with a 6-0 rout of Jamaica in the semi-finals of the Concacaf regional qualifier on Sunday (Oct 14).

Canada also punched their ticket to France in emphatic style, thumping Panama 7-0 in Frisco, Texas, to set up a blockbuster clash with the world No. 1 Americans in the final of the Concacaf women's championship on Wednesday.

The US, three-time World Cup winners who were stung by a quarter-final exit at the Rio Olympics, put Jamaica away early. Tobin Heath opened the scoring and added her second in the 29th - part of a five-goal first half that also included goals from Megan Rapinoe, Julie Ertz and Alex Morgan.

The US cruised through the second half, adding an exclamation point with Morgan's penalty in the 84th minute.

While both finalists secured World Cup berths, all was not lost for Panama and Jamaica. The winner of the third-place match on Wednesday will also gain direct entry to the World Cup, while the fourth-placed team will play off for a berth against Argentina.

That means Panama's women can still duplicate their men's team's achievement of reaching the World Cup for the first time at Russia 2018.

And Jamaica's Reggae Girlz are still in with a chance of becoming the first Caribbean side to qualify for the Women's World Cup.

In the first match of the day's double-header, Christine Sinclair and Adriana Leon scored two goals apiece and Jessie Fleming, Janine Beckie and Rebecca Quinn added one each for Canada, who secured their seventh Women's World Cup appearance in eight tournaments.

Sinclair, who took her tally of international goals to 177, ignited Canada with a header in the 44th minute after they had been frustrated in the early going by Panama.

"The first half was nervy," said Canada coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller. "We expected our possession on the ball would have created more chances.

"We thought it was an in-front game, playing in front of their back four, but, it was actually an in-behind game and we identified that in the break. There were a few changes, but, it was more down to being comfortable and bringing that Canadian DNA."

Sinclair added another header in the 49th, two minutes after Fleming's strike.

Beckie scored in the 58th, Quinn in the 63rd, and substitute Leon produced two quick goals in the 76th and 78th as Canada, ranked fifth in the world by Fifa, poured it on.