Jamaica and Haiti primed for explosive winner-takes-all showdown

July 10 – Jamaica and Haiti go head-to-head in a must-win match at Estadio BBVA in Monterrey tonight.

The winner will take the automatic qualifying slot for the 2023 World Cup in Australia/New Zealand and face the winner of Costa Rica vs Canada in the semi-final of the Concacaf W Championship.

The loser will live to fight another day, in the New Zealand World Cup qualifying tournament in February of next year, assuming the US don’t lose to Mexico.

Jamaica opened the tournament bursting Mexico’s bubble with a 1-0 win. It was a surprise loss for the Mexicans whose tournament took a turn for the worse when they were then beaten 3-0 by Haiti.

Haiti will be fierce opponents for Jamaica. Roselord Borgella, Nerilia Mondesir and Sherly Jeudy are real threats in front of goal, while the athleticsm of playmaker Melchie Dumornay is irrepressible and she is without doubt one of the players of the tournament.

Against this Jamaica have their own quality in front of goal in Manchester City striker Khadija Shaw (pictured), and at the other end have one the tournament’s safest keepers in Rebecca Spencer.

Lorne Donaldson, who only took charge of the team in June, is justifiably pleased with the progress so far. While the Jamaicans are bidding for a second successive World Cup finals – with roughly half the team having the experience of France 2019 – they were draw in the group of death and few expected them to challenge for the automatic World Cup place that comes with semi-final qualification.

“We have three points and no-one expected us to do much,” said Donaldson. But he is also mindful of the Haiti challenge.

“The Haitians are a very good team. A quality coach, a quality team and quality players. We are in for a very hard game… It’s a must-win game. Defensively we must be solid. We must bunker in and counter. We have to keep possession and get forward,” said Donaldson.

If Jamaica can get Shaw into the danger area and the ball to her – against the USA she too often cut a lone figure pushed too wide to damage – then they are in with a real chance of upsetting Haiti.

The two teams have met twice before in the CWC, with Haiti winning both matches, the last being a 2-1 win 10 years ago.

Donaldson is confident Jamaica can upset that record. “The team with the most heart will come out on top in the game,” he said. “I trust my players in a one-off situation.”

The problem with that if there is one thing Haiti have in a abundance it is heart. This promises to be a cracker of a game.

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