Christine Sinclair (#12) celebrates after scoring against Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship semifinals on February 19, 2016, in Houston, Texas. (Photo: Mexsport)
HOUSTON -- For veterans of the Canada women’s national team, it may be a third trip to the Olympic Games, but the sensation produced by such an achievement remained as new as ever.
After scoring two goals in a 3-1 semifinal win over Costa Rica in the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship on Friday – a result secured a place at Rio 2016 – Canada forward Christine Sinclair revealed the sheer elation a player experiences once an objective is fulfilled.
“The feeling never gets old,” Sinclair said. “The joy on those youngsters faces knowing that they’re going to the Olympics for the first time…it’s actually no different than the face of a Rhian Wilkinson, who’s going for her third.
“It never gets old. It’s an honour to represent your country at the Olympics and I hope we can do Canada proud again.”
Canada had two priorities coming into the competition. The first and most important one has been ticked off: earning a place in a third-straight Olympics.
The other is winning the CWOQ for the first time in four tries. An imposing obstacle – in the form of the three-time defending champion United States – stands in the way.
“There’s a group ready and hungry to play against the U.S. and we’re going to give them one hell of a fight as we always do,” said Canada head coach John Herdman. “We’re looking forward to it. That’s what all Canadians look forward to. That’s what everyone tunes into.”
Canada hasn’t beaten the Americans since a 3-0 win in the 2001 Algarve Cup in Portugal. Only Sinclair remains from that victorious side.
“The expected was done tonight and that wasn’t easy,” expressed Herdman, finishing, “but we’re going to be ready for a hell of a fight.”