As USWNT begins World Cup qualifying, here’s what you need to know about the CONCACAF W Championship – The Denver Post

The United States Women’s National Team has done all of its prep work. Now it’s time to roll out as the road to earning a fifth star on the badge will begin in earnest south of the border in Mexico.

Monday marks the start of the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship. The W Championship will double up as qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Teams from North America, Latin America and the Caribbean will compete in Monterrey, Mexico, with the tournament running July 4-18 at famed Mexican venues Estadio Universitario (capacity 42,000) and Estadio BBVA (capacity 51,000).

Here’s a quick guide for the month ahead.

How does it all work?

Two signature events are on the line for the eight-team tournament. The teams were divided into two groups of four based on FIFA world rankings and each team will play three group stage games.

The four teams THAT reach the semifinals — the two group stage winners and two group-stage second-place finishers — will qualify directly for the 2023 World Cup where CONCACAF has four spots for the newly-expanded 32-team tournament. The two third-place group-stage finishers will qualify for an inter-continental playoff, which will be held next February.

The winner of the CONCACAF W Championship will directly qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Meanwhile, the overall second- and third-place finishers will play each other in September 2023 to decide the remaining 2024 Olympic spot.

How can I watch the tournament?

Every game will be aired on CBS’ streaming service, Paramount Plus, with a few games simultaneously broadcasted on CBS Sports Network. Additionally, fans can also watch in Spanish on Univision’s TUDN. The group stage will run from July 4-11, the semifinals are set for July 14, while the third-place and championship game will be July 18.

Who will the USWNT play & what countries are involved?

The Americans are in Group A with Jamaica, Haiti and Mexico. They will open the tournament against Haiti, 5 p.m., Monday. Haiti is ranked No. 60 in the world, per FIFA’s latest rankings. The second game is against Jamaica (No. 51) with a 5 p.m. start on Thursday. The final game of group play is the must-watch rivalry against Mexico (No. 26) with kickoff set for 8 p.m. Monday, July 11.

Group B is much more of a toss-up. Olympic champion Canada (No. 6) is the clear favorite, while Costa Rica (No. 37), Panama (No. 57) and Trinidad and Tobago (No. 76) are set to challenge for the second spot.

CONCACAF World Cup qualifying is a slug fest, known for being unpredictable. If the Americans can keep their noses to the grindstone even with a boisterous atmosphere raining down, they should be OK.

What players should I watch?

If you loved watching local heroes put on a show at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park last Saturday, there’s three Coloradans on the U.S. squad to root for: Lindsey Horan, Sophia Smith and Mallory Pugh.

Janine Beckie grew up in Highlands Ranch but has been a mainstay with Canada. Bunny Shaw of Jamaica is a generational talent and plays for Manchester City, while Mexican forward María Sanchez could easily catch fire.

What other tournaments are going on this month?

July is a big month for women’s soccer. World Cup qualifying tournaments are also happening in Africa (July 2-23), South America with the Copa América Feminina (July 8-30) and in Oceania (July 13-30). Additionally, the UEFA European Championships will run from July 6-31 in England, and World Cup qualifying will wrap up in September.

Eleven teams are already heading to the Land(s) Down Under next summer. Now it’s time to see who will join in on the fun.

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