United States, Canada book Rio Olympic berths

RIO DE JANEIRO: Striker Alex Morgan scored a hat-trick as the United States booked a place in the Rio Olympic women’s soccer tournament with a 5-0 demolition of Trinidad and Tobago in a semi-final at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in Houston on Friday.
Canada, boosted by two goals from Christine Sinclair, also earned a ticket to Rio with a 3-1 win over Costa Rica in the other semi-final.

The U.S. and Canada will meet in Sunday’s final, but the mission has already been accomplished by both teams, with Olympic qualifying the top priority.

The U.S. have dominated Olympic women’s soccer, winning four of the five gold medals since the event was added to the programme in 1996. Their only loss came in the final against Norway in 2000.

The Americans were barely tested on Friday by a completely outclassed Trinidad and Tobago team grappling with a porous defence.

In the early game, Sinclair was the star of the show for Canada, opening the scoring in the 18th minute before adding a stunning second in the 52nd minute.

Costa Rica pulled one back from the penalty spot, before 16-year-old Deanne Rose put the game out of reach of the Costa Ricans with a late goal to put Canada, bronze medallists at the 2012 London Games, into the final.