CanWNT learns qualifying path for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Coming off back-to-back bronze medal performances, the Canadian women’s team will try to reach the podium for a third consecutive time at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

To book their trip to Japan next summer, though, the Canadians must first navigate the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament which runs from Jan. 28 to Feb 9, 2020. The Reds learned their qualifying path for the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday during Concacaf’s official draw for the event in Miami.

Canada, seventh in the current FIFA world rankings, will compete in Group B at the Concacaf Olympic qualifiers vs. No. 134 Saint Kitts and Nevis (on Jan 29), No. 51 Jamaica (on Feb.1) and No. 27 Mexico (on Feb. 4). All of Canada’s group stage games will take place in Edinburg, Texas.

Group A consists of two-time reigning World Cup champions United States (ranked No. 1 in the world), Costa Rica (38), Panama (56) and Haiti (73). All group games will be played in Houston.

The semifinals and finals will be staged in Carson, California.

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The top two nations from each group advance to the semifinals of the Concacaf tournament. Only the two finalists qualify for next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo.

The Canadian women have qualified for the last three Olympics, beating Mexico (twice) and Costa Rica in the semifinals of the Concacaf qualifiers, before losing to the U.S. in the final each time.

Canada did not qualify for the 2004 Games in Athens, as it was upset by Mexico in the Concacaf semifinals. The Canadian women also did not qualify for the 1996 or 2000 Olympics when the U.S. was the lone CONCACAF representative.

Canada won bronze medals at the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The U.S. has won gold at the Olympics on four occasions (1996, 2004, 2008 and 2012) and also claimed silver in 2000.

The Canadian women’s team is currently in China where it is competing in the Four Nations Tournament in Yongchuan. The Reds lost 4-0 to Brazil on Thursday, and will next meet New Zealand on Sunday.

“We need to get back on track, but we will make sure we get there. This match was important for us to assess players ahead of the Concacaf Women’s Olympic (qualifiers), so it was good to see some of our players up against a team with some of the best players in the world,” Canadian coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller said after the loss to Brazil.