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U.S. women hold off gritty Costa Rica in Olympic qualifying match

January 28, 2012

Watch a Costa Rican soccer player score an unbelievable goal – on her own team

VANCOUVER – The United States and Canada reached the Olympics for the second consecutive time by posting semifinal wins at the CONCACAF women’s Olympic soccer tournament in a doubleheader Friday.

The two-time defending gold medalists U.S. squad overcame a determined Costa Rica team 3-0 while the Canadians also booked a spot at the London Summer Games behind a 3-1 victory over Mexico at BC Place stadium.

The U.S. and Canada will meet Sunday for the CONCACAF championship. Since both teams already have qualified, the game is more for the bragging rights of the region that includes North and Central American and the Caribbean.

Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd and second-half substitute Alex Morgan scored for the U.S., which has outscored its opposition in this competition 34-0.

Heath put in a rebound of an Abby Wambach shot in the 16th minute, Lloyd struck from the top of the penalty area in the 72nd minute for an insurance goal before Morgan sealed the Costa Rica’s fate in the 89th minute.

“We celebrated. It was the first time we celebrated [at the tournament],” goalkeeper Hope Solo said.

“It was a sigh of relief. We gave hugs to everybody. You could tell it was all right. We are London bound. It was time to relax a little. We have a final match and its going to be a great game. And we’re going to London.”

Costa Rica coach Karla Aleman could not have been prouder of her players.

“For Costa Rica it has been a great honour of playing against the best team in the world, at the moment,” she said. “These kind of experiences are the ones that we need for Costa Rica to get better and grow.

“I’m not upset with my players. I’m very proud of them. They did a great job.”

The U.S. women have never missed any of the five women’s Olympic tournament nor have they missed a final. They have won three gold medals and a silver.

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