The groups for the 2022 Concacaf W Championship are set, with México being drawn into Group A with the reigning World Cup Champions, Jamaica, and Haiti. Group B meanwhile consists of Canada, Costa Rica, Panamá, and Trinidad and Tobago. The top two teams in both groups will qualify to the Women’s World Cup and the knockout stage of the tournament, while the third place teams will qualify for inter-confederation playoffs where they’ll need to play in for a spot in the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The tournament runs from July 4 through July 18.
The Concacaf W Championship will be held in Monterrey, which should be a huge advantage for México. The crowds in Estadio BBVA and El Volcán are always large and loud for Rayadas and Tigres respectively. The last time the event was held in México was in 2010 in Cancún, where México finished in second place in the tournament.
That tournament also marked the last time México faced their northern neighbors in México, which resulted in a 2-1 win for the home side, forcing their opponents to play in to the 2011 World Cup. The only other time México has won against them was the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil, drawing once and losing on 39 other occasions. Most recently they lost two friendlies in Connecticut by identical 4-0 score lines in July 2021.
Against the other teams in the group, México has won six against Jamaica in their six encounters, most recently beating the Reggae Girlz 1-0 in the 2019 World Cup Qualifying tournament. They’ve also won all four matches they’ve played against Haiti, most recently beating them1-0 in the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games, which was held in Veracruz. They also picked up a 3-0 forfeit in the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games after Haiti withdrew from the tournament.
While these historical records are important for context, it’s important to acknowledge that every one of these teams is different than previous incarnations. The former World Cup winners have appeared vulnerable, with an older generation of players refusing to cede minutes to younger players and as a result losing in the Olympics to Canada. Jamaica and Haiti meanwhile have seen their programs getting international attention for their ascension. México has also seen its program become one of the new powers of Concacaf, thanks in part to the backing of the federation and the growth of Liga MX Femenil, which has become one of the best leagues in the region.
This may be a Group of Death scenario that sees a tough team missing out on even a play-in for a World Cup berth. It may also be an opportunity to show just how far the balance of power has shifted in Concacaf, and by proxy, women’s soccer in general.