WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mexico defeated Jamaica, 3-1 on Tuesday at RFK Stadium to advance out of Group B and to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, where Mexico will meet the United States on Friday. Jamaica is eliminated with the loss.
Mexico and the United States will meet in a World Cup qualifying semifinal for the second straight time. Four years ago on home soil, Mexico shocked the No. 1 ranked Americans, beating them 2-1 in Mexico to clinch a World Cup berth and force the U.S. into a playoff with Italy. The U.S. was the last of 16 teams to qualify for the 2011 World Cup, eventually losing to Japan in the final.
But history shows the result was an anomaly. Mexico has managed only one win — that 2011 triumph, the program’s shining moment — and a tie in 31 all-time meetings with the United States. The Americans shut out Mexico in each of their last five meetings, including 8-0 and 4-0 wins over Mexico in September.
And in 2010 there were only two direct qualifying spots available for the 16-team World Cup. The 2015 World Cup will be the first to feature 24 teams, meaning there are three direct qualification spots available from CONCACAF (not including Canada, an automatic qualifier as host). The fourth-place team from North and Central America will play Ecuador in a two-leg playoff. Group B winner Costa Rica will play Trinidad & Tobago in Friday’s other semifinal.
[MORE: Jamaica restarts program, funded by Bob Marley’s daughter | More on Mexico]
Jamaica had to beat Mexico on Tuesday in order to advance, since Mexico held the tiebreaker of a superior goal difference. A tie would have been enough for Mexico to advance.
Donnakay Henry put Jamaica ahead in the 14th minute on a world-class, curling shot that tucked into the upper corner. That gave Jamaica the early lead it needed, but it also opened up the game for Mexico as La Tri pushed for an equalizer.
Stephany Mayor tied the game 15 minutes later on a tap-in after Jamaica goalkeeper Nicole McClure spilled the ball in front of net. Monica Ocampo should have given Mexico the lead heading into the break, but her shot from inside the six-yard box in first-half stoppage time went off the crossbar. Veronica Perez also sent a screaming 30-yard free kick toward the upper corner before halftime, a shot that forced a big save from McClure.
Mexico took control of the match in the second half. Alina Garciamendez’s header deflected off Jamaican defender Monique Pryce, nearly resulting in an own goal in the 50th minute, and Perez continued to get opportunities from the run of play.
Veronica Corral finally put Mexico ahead on a stunning volley in the 60th minute, and she scored again in the 76th minute to ice the game and seal Mexico’s spot in the semifinals.
Mexico is seeking a third World Cup berth, having qualified in 1999 and 2011.
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