Canada players have ended their strike to continue preparations for the 2022 World Cup but warned "questions have yet to be answered and actions have yet to be taken".

The team, who qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1986, had taken action in a dispute over Qatar 2022 prize money.

As a friendly against Panama had to be called off, Canada Soccer responded to reports players would receive only 10 per cent of the pot it received from FIFA.

Canada Soccer said it had proposed 30 per cent would go to the men's team, 30 per cent to the women's team and 40 per cent to the association.

The players, the association claimed, asked for somewhere between 75 and 100 per cent of the money. A letter from the players asked for 40 per cent.

This letter said negotiations over compensation had been "unnecessarily prolonged" by executives "taking vacations" before players were presented with "an archaic offer" last week.

The team apologised to Panama as they went on a short-lived strike, which was ended by their return to training this week – albeit without a resolution.

 

"We, the Canadian men's national team, have decided to resume training in preparation for the road to Qatar," they said in a second letter.

"To be clear, we have not reached an agreement with [Canada Soccer].

"The players have met with the senior leaders of Canada Soccer on Sunday evening and will continue the negotiation process, but questions have yet to be answered and actions have yet to be taken.

"We move forward in hope that Canada Soccer will work with us to resolve the situation."

Canada Soccer added: "Canada Soccer senior leaders and the men's national team players met on Sunday night to continue the negotiation process.

"The players will train this [Monday] afternoon with future meetings scheduled toward a resolution."

Canada begin their World Cup campaign against 2018 semi-finalists Belgium in Al Rayyan on November 23 and will also play Croatia and Morocco in Group F.

The field for the eight-team 2022 Concacaf W Championship is now set, as Mexico, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Panama clinched the final six berths following the results of the final matchday of W Qualifying on Tuesday.

Mexico are winners of Group A after downing Puerto Rico 6-0 at the Estadio Nemesio Diez in Toluca, Mexico. Jacqueline Ovalle’s brace (13’, 51’), along with goals from Katty Martinez (15’), Myra Delgadillo (19’), Diana Ordonez (55’) and Maria Sanchez (90+1’) sealed the win for El Tricolor.

In the day’s other game in Group A, Suriname claimed a 5-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda at the Frank Essen Stadion in Paramaribo, Suriname. Van Ommeren Ravelcheny (27’), Andaya Lantveld (34’), Katoucha Patra (36’), Rowena Ondaan (68’) and Pique Naomi (90+4’) scored for the hosts, while Kai Jacobs (84’) tallied Antigua and Barbuda’s lone goal.

Costa Rica emerged as the top team in Group B after defeating Guatemala 5-0 at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose. Priscila Chinchilla (5’, 64’) scored a pair of goals and was joined on the scoresheet by Maria Salas (29’), Cristin Granados (52’) and Shirley Cruz (85’).

Saint Kitts and Nevis finished their qualifying campaign in Group B with a third straight win in a 6-0 final versus US Virgin Islands at Warner Park Football Stadium in Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis. Phoenetia Browne bagged a brace (77’, 90+3’), while Ellie Stokes (21’), Cloey Uddenberg (51’), Caroline Springer (57’) and Jahzara Claxton (65’) added scores.

Jamaica gave the home fans at the Sabina Park Stadium in Kingston a smile, as the Reggae Girlz captured Group C with a 5-1 win over the Dominican Republic. Khadija Shaw (79’, 90+3’) led the way with a brace, while Jody Brown (16’), Trudi Carter (40’) and Tiffany Cameron (60’) all added goals. Kathrynn Gonzalez (24’) scored for the Dominican Republic.

Bermuda also ended Group C on a positive note thanks to a 6-0 win over Grenada at the Dame Flora Duffy National Sports Centre in Hamilton, Bermuda. Leilanni Nesbeth (10’, 56’, 73’) notched a hat trick, Nia Christopher (23’, 88’) had a brace and Victoria Davis (78’) added a goal for the hosts.

Panama clinched their spot in the W Championship by virtue of their 2-0 victory against El Salvador at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City to clinch Group D. Second half scores from Yerenis De Leon (65’) and Karla Riley (78’) lifted the Canaleras to the three points.

Belize were 3-0 winners over Barbados to wrap up their play in Group D at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador, El Salvador. Jayda Brown (55’, 90+4’) had a brace, while Shendra Casimiro (38’) also got on the scoresheet.

Haiti continued to flex their scoring muscles and posted a 6-0 win versus Cuba to claim Group E at the Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Roselord Borgella (53’, 74’) finished as qualifying’s joint-top scorer with 11 goals thanks to a brace, while Nerilia Mondesir (23’), Melchie Dumornay (64’), Batcheba Louis (72’) and a Yarisleidy Mena (88’) own goal paved the way.

Honduras completed qualifying in Group E with a 2-1 triumph over Saint Vincent and the Grenadines at the Estadio Francisco Morazan in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Goals from Honduras players Kendra Haylock (26’) and Gabriela Garcia (53’) sandwiched Denella Creese’s (45+2’) score for Vincy Heat.

A late score from Lauryn Hutchinson earned Trinidad and Tobago a dramatic 2-2 draw with Guyana to take the top spot in Group F at Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Trinidad and Tobago. It looked like a brace from Guyana’s Sydney Cummings (45’, 82’) would outweigh Asha James’ goal (48’), but Hutchinson’s score in the 90’ delivered the W Championship-clinching draw for Trinidad and Tobago.

Nicaragua also enjoyed a winning finish to Group F by defeating Dominica 10-0 at the Estadio Nacional de Futbol in Managua. W Qualifying joint-top scorer Yessenia Flores (11 goals) scored four goals (2’, 19’, 31’, 53’), while Lilieth Rivera (14’), Jaclyn Gilday (25’), Reyna Hernandez (49’), Nathaly Silva (58’), Yorcelly Humphreys (71’) and Martha Silva (87’) also chipped in with scores.

 

Christian Pulisic scored a hat-trick as the United States thrashed Panama 5-1 on Sunday to all but secure their place at the 2022 World Cup.

While still not officially assured of a spot in Qatar, only an implausible six-goal midweek defeat to Costa Rica would prevent Gregg Berhalter's side from returning to the tournament after missing out four years ago.

Costa Rica's 2-1 win in El Salvador earlier in the day meant USA were unable to join Canada in making absolutely sure of their qualification, though they went about their business professionally in Orlando.

Pulisic opened the scoring in the 17th minute from the spot after Anibal Godoy was penalised for grappling with Walker Zimmerman, and soon after it was 2-0 as Paul Arriola headed in Antonee Robinson's delivery.

Jesus Ferreira made it 3-0 just before the half-hour mark with a close-range finish and Pulisic ensured they went into the break four up thanks to his second penalty of the day – Godoy was again the guilty party, fouling Miles Robinson.

Pulisic completed his hat-trick in style with 65 minutes played, producing a lovely touch to turn and then convert, though a late Godoy consolation prevented Zack Steffen keeping a clean sheet.

USA need only a point on Wednesday to ensure they are in Friday's World Cup draw, though in reality they could lose 5-0 to fourth-placed Costa Rica and still qualify due to their superior goal difference.

Raul Jimenez's 80th-minute penalty has earned Mexico a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Panama to open up a four-point gap between the sides in the race to qualify for Qatar 2022.

Jimenez returned after missing the past two games with a calf injury to be a constant threat for El Tri, before converting the spotkick won by Diego Lainez in Mexico City on Wednesday.

The late strike eased the pressure on El Tri head coach Gerardo Martino after Saturday's 0-0 home draw with Costa Rica, as third-placed Mexico moved clear of fourth-placed Panama in the CONCACAF playoff spot with three games to play.

Wolves forward Jimenez had the bulk of Mexico's chances, including having an early second-half goal disallowed by the VAR.

Lainez, who was introduced as a 66th-minute substitute for Hirving Lozano, won the penalty with quick feet after being upended by Abdiel Ayarza. Jimenez sent Panama goalkeeper Luis Mejia the wrong way with his cool finish.

In the fifth minute of stoppage time, the visitors almost grabbed a crucial late equalizer when Michael Amir Murillo pushed forward and glanced a header wide.

Panama remained undefeated all-time against Jamaica in World Cup qualification, rallying from a goal down to win 3-2 at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City on Sunday evening.

The visitors were ahead in the fifth minute when Michail Antonio converted from the penalty spot to give Jamaica its first goal against Panama in qualification since Marvin Elliott’s 2013 tally.

Panama pushed, however, and had its efforts rewarded by a penalty of its own in the 18th minute. But they came away empty-handed, as Eric Davis’ shot down the middle was saved by Jamaica GK Andre Blake to keep Jamaica in the lead.

The Panama equalizer came when Blake was beaten by his own defender just before the halftime break, with the goalkeeper trying to punch clear a cross from Edgar Yoel Barcenas, only to send it onto the head of Javain Brown and into his own net.

Davis worked to atone for his penalty miss in the 51st minute, taking advantage of a rebound from another Barcenas shot and sending a low blast past Blake to give Panama the 2-1 advantage.

The advantage was then extended in the 69th minute as Azmahar Ariano Navarro scored with a sweep of his foot after a Panama corner kick fell to him.

Jamaica wasn’t ready to concede defeat, though, with Andre Gray heading a cross past Panama goalkeeper Luis Mejia to put the Caribbean squad within striking distance.

In the end, though, Panama’s defence held tough and got the victory that keeps the Canaleros in sole possession of fourth place in the table.

Panama now travels to meet Mexico at the Estadio Azteca, while Jamaica returns home to square off with Costa Rica.

Preparations are advancing for the Video Assistant Replay (VAR) replay system to be installed at Jamaica’s National Stadium, with a site visit expected to take place early next week.

Production and audiovisual company MediaPro, which is already in charge of broadcasting all Concacaf events, will be responsible for implementing the technology in Jamaica, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama.  The other four venues, which do not have the technology installed.

The move follows up on the decision by CONCACAF to implement VAR for the region in September, but the move was held up not only by logistical considerations but also by adequately certified officials.

In recent weeks, however, football’s world governing body FIFA has accredited referees, as well as VAR assistants and managers.  Prior to that, only the United States, Mexico, and Canada had VAR officials as they were the only ones to make use of the technology in their various leagues.

Implementing the technology in Jamaica will incur an added expense as the equipment will have to be flown to the island before being installed at the country’s national stadium.  The other CONCACAF venues taking part in the Octagonal round, which do not have yet the technology, can be accessed via roadways.  The majority of the bill will be picked up by Concacaf.  Jamaica will resume World Cup qualification action against Mexico, at the National Stadium, on January 27th.

Panama celebrated a famous win as Sunday's 1-0 victory gave them their first CONCACAF World Cup qualifying triumph over the United States.

USA entered the away fixture unbeaten in eight World Cup qualifiers against Panama, including six wins, and enjoying a 13-match undefeated streak across all competitions.

But Panama had other ideas thanks to Anibal Godoy, whose 54th-minute header secured an unlikely victory in Panama City on the road to Qatar 2022.

In wild scenes, Godoy – who plays in MLS for Nashville – headed home Eric Davis' corner at the near post.

It was a rough outing for Gold Cup champions USA, who appeared out of sorts having failed to produce a single shot on target throughout the fixture at Estadio Rommel Fernandez.

Panama are now level with leaders USA and Mexico on eight points, though El Tri are due to face Honduras on Sunday.

Jamaica international Kemar Roofe insists he is proud of finally making a long-awaited debut for the national team, despite a lopsided result against Panama.

The 28-year-old striker was among a number of players based in European leagues brought in to bolster the Reggae Boyz as the team looks to return to the FIFA World Cup for the first time in over two decades.

It was hardly the ideal scenario, however, as the team lost 3-0 at home to Panama.  The international window consisted of three games but due to United Kingdom restrictions on travel to countries on its red list, Roofe could only take part in the home fixture against Panama.  Both Mexico and Costa Rica where the team also had matches are on the UK’s red list.  Travel to any of these countries would have required a 10-day quarantine upon return to the United Kingdom for the players, with several leagues controversially opting not to release players for the fixtures.

Setbacks aside, however, Roofe insists his first cap was a proud moment for both himself and his relatives.

“It was a proud moment for myself and my family to represent my dad’s country of birth,” Roofe told the Daily Record.

“It’s a good experience to play international football. It’s a different style of football to the domestic game. It’s an enjoyable experience, even though we lost,” he added.

“We only had a few days to get to know each other and play the game. The two other games were in the red zone so we couldn’t go to those games.”

Following an opening-round loss to Mexico and loss to Panama, the team got on the board with a 1-1 draw away to Costa Rica. 

Jesus Corona salvaged a 1-1 draw away to Panama as Mexico dropped points for the first time in 2022 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Mexico had won their opening two Octagonal fixtures to sit top of the CONCACAF standings on the road to Qatar 2022.

But Panama and Mexico shared the points at Estadio Rommel Fernandez Gutierrez in Panama City on Wednesday.

Panama – also unbeaten – had suffered four consecutive defeats to Mexico since earning a goalless draw against El Tri in World Cup qualifying in 2016.

However, hosts Panama opened the scoring through Rolando Blackburn approaching the half-hour mark in the 28th minute.

Mexico – again without head coach Tata Martino following eye surgery – had their chances in the opening half, but it was not until the 76th minute that El Tri found the back of the net.

After Sebastian Cordova hit the post, Corona was on hand to convert the rebound with a curled effort past Panama goalkeeper Luis Mejia.

Panama stayed undefeated in the Final Round of Concacaf World Cup qualification for Qatar 2022 with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Jamaica on Sunday at Independence Park in Kingston.

Panama now has four points after Sunday’s win and last Thursday’s opening 0-0 home draw versus Costa Rica, while Jamaica is still searching for its first point of qualification following Sunday’s result and Thursday’s 2-1 loss to Mexico.

Panama opened the scoring in the 14th minute through an unlikely scorer. Center back Andres Andrade stepped into the centre circle and picked off a pass, but rather than find an attacker, he opted to dribble forward and fire off a shot before he got into the penalty area. The attempt surprised Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake, and Panama was off the mark, 1-0.

Panama looked for a second in the 35th minute, with Jose Luis Rodriguez getting the ball in the box and looking to curl a shot past Blake, but the Jamaican shot-stopper had the shot in his sights and made the stop. Two minutes later, Rodriguez turned provider, putting in a cross of his own for Rolando Blackburn, whose header also ended up in Blake’s hands.

But Blackburn used that as experience to double the lead in the 39th minute, beating Liam Moore to an Eric Davis cross and sending his header past Blake to give the Central Americans the 2-0 lead heading into the halftime break.

Jamaica manager Theodore Whitmore made a pair of changes at halftime, bringing Junior Flemmings and Devon Williams into the contest and also made another pair of subs in the 73rd minute, including inserting Shamar Nicholson, who scored in the 2-1 loss to Mexico, for Michail Antonio, who made his Jamaica debut on Sunday.

Jamaica had perhaps its best chance of the game in the 77th minute, with a shot from Nicholson forcing Panama GK Luis Mejia into action. But moments later, it was Panama on the counter-attack, and midfielder Adalberto Carrasquilla played in Cecilio Waterman, who sent his finish past Blake to tie a bow on the victory for Panama.

Jamaica closes out the window with a trip to Costa Rica, while Panama will put its undefeated record on the line against Mexico in Panama City.

 

 

Jamaica Reggae Boyz defender Damion Lowe has taken solace in the fight and effort shown by the team, despite a late loss away to Mexico in the opening round of World Cup qualifiers, and is confident it augurs well for the team going forward.

The Jamaica national team seemed well on its way to securing an unlikely point at the renowned Azteca stadium, after a 65th minute Shamar Nicholson strike brought them on level terms.  It was, however, not to be as Mexico’s Henry Martin restored the home team’s advantage in the 89th minute.

The result left the disappointed Jamaican’s without a point, but having headed into the game without some of its first-team players being available the battling display at a venue where not many come away with anything could serve as a sign of encouragement.

“We are disappointed with the result but with the performance, the guys put out there, yes there is always room for more, but the guys showed lots of character,” Lowe said.

“The guys fought hard and that’s going to separate team getting points and qualifying for the World Cup, rather than just losing a game or buckling and being afraid,” he added.

The team’s best result at the venue was a 0-0 draw in the 2013 qualifying campaign, Jamaica will look to bounce back against Panama in their first home game of the qualifiers, at the country’s National Stadium.

Jamaica Reggae Boyz forward, Shamar Nicholson, has insisted a goal inside the world-famous Azteca stadium was scant consolation as the team was extremely disappointed to lose late on to Mexico in the opening round of the World Cup qualifiers.

On Wednesday, Nicholson’s well-taken equaliser, scored in the 65th minute, gave the less than full-strength team plenty of belief that they could leave Mexico with at least a share of the spoils.

Although they seemed well on their way to doing so, those hopes were cruelly dashed with less than five minutes remaining when Henry Martin put away an opportunistic finish in the 89th minute.

“It was devastating, to lose the game with just five minutes remaining was really shocking for the team,” Nicholson said.

“The good thing is we don’t have much to think about the game that has passed.  The main focus is the one coming up on Sunday.”

The team will be eager to bounce back with maximum points against Panama at the country’s National Stadium on Sunday.  Their central American opponents have proven stubborn opposition in the past, however, and Jamaica has won just 2 of its last eight games against them.  Jamaica did win the last encounter between the teams, a 1-0 triumph at the 2019 Gold Cup.  The Boyz will also be buoyed by the return to line-up of several of its UK-based contingent who were unable to take part in the Mexico fixture due to the country's UK travel red-list status.

 

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) could be breathing a sigh of relief as the country remained on the amber list in the latest update of the United Kingdom’s Traffic Light System, which applies to travel to and from the country.

Earlier this week, the Premier League announced that, based on the current quarantine rules, it would not release players for the upcoming round of World Cup qualifiers to countries on the UK’s red list.  It was later joined by the La Liga and Serie A competitions and yesterday, England’s second tier, the EFL also joined the list of clubs.

The concerns stem from the fact that players returning from red-listed destinations would, based on the rules, be forced to quarantine for 10 days.  The leagues argue that those conditions would lead to players missing games, in addition to having to make up for fitness requirements.

Unless an agreement can be worked out the decision will impact the availability of several teams competing in the final round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, which kick off on September 2.

At current, Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica are the teams that have been placed on the red list.  The USA, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Honduras are all on the amber list, while Canada has been moved to the green list.

Individuals returning from red list countries are required to quarantine in a managed hotel for 10 days and are subject to at least two COVID-19 tests.

Fully vaccinated individuals travelling to countries on the amber list would be subject to taking a COVID-19 test two days after arriving or before.  Non-vaccinated individuals returning from countries on the amber list would have to undergo the mandatory 10-day quarantine period.

Based on the interpretation of the rules and the club’s specific stipulation of not allowing players to travel to red list countries, the CONCACAF countries on the amber and green list could potentially have their players available.  Baring a change of circumstances, affected countries on the red list would be left short-handed.  However, vaccine stipulations, which it seems are required to exempt individuals from mandatory quarantine, could complicate things.

Jamaica has at least 10 players who ply their trade between the Premier League and England Football League (EFL).  Among the EPL players are Andre Gray (Watford), Leon Bailey (Aston Villa), and potentially Michail Antonio (West Ham) who recently received official documentation after switching from England.  It is currently not known how many of the team's overseas players are vaccinated.

 

 

Panama came from behind three times to draw with Qatar, while Honduras swept aside Grenada 4-0 in their opening CONCACAF Gold Cup matches on Tuesday.

In a tight game in Houston, six goals were scored in the second half as 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar hit the lead three times but failed to capitalise.

Panama's Rolando Blackburn levelled the game twice in a flurry of goals in the first 20 minutes after half-time, as Hassan Al Heidos put Qatar up 3-2 from the spot in the 63rd minute. Eric Davis equalised with a 79th-minute penalty.

Honduras dominated Grenada in the later game, with goals from Jerry Bengtson, Edwin Solano, Johnny Leveron and Romell Quioto.

Panama and Honduras will meet on Saturday in Houston after Grenada and Qatar face off at the same venue.

Diego Lainez dazzled as Mexico returned to winning ways ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Panama in an international friendly in Nashville on Wednesday.

The Real Betis midfielder opened the scoring in the 21st minute for El Tri, before defender Cesar Montes' 57th-minute header made it 2-0.

Henry Martin worked a sublime one-two before a cool finish in second-half stoppage time to round out a strong win.

Mexico had lost last month's CONCACAF Nations League final on penalties to the United States, before a goalless friendly draw with Honduras.

Gerardo Martino's side made light work on Panama, who are currently ranked 78th in the world, ahead of the Gold Cup to be played in the US this month.

Montes hit the crossbar with an 18th minute header from a corner, but Lainez put them ahead three minutes.

Lainez raced onto a lofted diagonal ball from Luis Romo in acres of space, taking his time to slot on his left past Panama goalkeeper Jose Calderon.

Panama's Eric Davis fired a free-kick off target before Montes won another header from a corner which Calderon comfortably saved.

Montes made his next chance count, heading in from Alexis Vega's 57th-minute corner.

Mexico had a goal disallowed for offside when Jesus Ricardo Angulo squared for Uriel Antuna before Martin put the icing on the cake.

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