Thorns FC

Notebook: Five Thorns punch ticket to 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup


There will be at least six Thorns FC players competing in the FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand come 2023.

At least that much we know after the United States, Canada and Costa Rica picked up wins in their second game of the Concacaf W Championship in Monterrey, Mexico, and punched their tickets to compete on soccer's grandest stage.

Sophia Smith, Becky Sauerbrunn, Janine Beckie, Christine Sinclair and Rocky Rodriguez will join Hina Sugita – whose Japan side already qualified – in the recently-expanded 32-team field.

The United States clinched its berth with a 5-0 win against Jamaica on July 7. A red-hot Smith netted yet another brace, this time doing so in the match's opening 10 minutes to kick off the feel-good afternoon in Northern Mexico.

According to Opta, Smith is just the third U.S player to score a brace within the first eight minutes of a match in the last 20 years. Sauerbrunn received 90 minutes of rest as the U.S advances to play hosts Mexico on July 11 (7 p.m. PT, Paramount+).

At the Estadio Universitario, both Canada and Costa Rica qualified for the 2023 World Cup with a 1-0 win against Panama and 4-0 win against Trinidad and Tobago, respectively, on July 8. With the result, Sinclair is slated to play in her sixth Women's World Cup, while Beckie and Rodriguez will both compete in their second.

With spots in the next big international tournament now in hand, all three teams are still competing for a berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics which goes to the winner of the W Championship.

Thorns FC players will be pitted against one another for the first time in the W Championship when Canada and Costa Rica play on July 11 (7 p.m. PT, Paramount+).

Kuikka, Finland begin 2022 Women's EURO journey

Elsewhere in the world, Natalia Kuikka came off the bench and played 24 minutes in Finland's first game of the 2022 Women's EURO - a 4-1 loss to Spain. Their next game in the group stage comes against Denmark on July 12 (9 a.m. PT, ESPN2)

Time (Pacific)
How to watch
Smith, Sauerbrunn
U.S. v. Mexico
7 p.m.
Sinclair, Beckie, Rodriguez
Canada v. Costa Rica
4 p.m.
Finland v. Denmark
9 a.m.