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CONCACAF Gold Cup (and more!)


dmway
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This is a thread for those who think they will be going through football/soccer withdrawal after this weekend. Guess what? You won't be!

The Euros and Copa America end this weekend...BUT, the Gold Cup, the Olympics, and even the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals and finals are happening now and over the next month! (After all those...the Premiere League is back in action! ūüėé)

After Team USA's success in the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League final, I'll be curious to see if they can replicate that success in the Gold Cup. Tragically, our Men's team didn't qualify for the Olympics; however, our Women's team definitely did and will be one of the favorites for a gold medal. And, my favorite MLS team (the Philadelphia Union) is actually in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal! MLS teams generally don't get this far in this tournament, so I'm quite proud of them. We'll see next month if they can get to the final.

So, after this weekend, there is still more soccer/football!

 

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...and this tournament is actually starting tonight!

El Tri (a.k.a., Mexico) is playing Trinidad & Tobago tonight in Arlington, TX (it is in the 2nd half now - it's still 0-0, despite Mexico having 85% of the possession and an overwhelming lead in shots - I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Mexico will eventually score and go on to win).

 

Tomorrow's (i.e., Sun., July 11th) schedule is:

Canada v Martinique

USA v Haiti

El Salvador v Guatemala

 

Let me give you a description of how this tournament is arranged and how it will go. There are 16 teams, arranged in four groups of four. (Here is a graphic representation: https://www.concacaf.com/en/gold-cup/schedule-results/ ) The top 2 from each group go to the quarterfinals, and normal play from there until there is a winner.

CONCACAF is one of the largest federations in the world - it has 41 member countries. Not only does it have the North and Central American countries, it also has all of the Caribbean Island nations, and even 3 South American countries (yes, in South America, to the east of Venezuela and to the north of Brazil, are 3 countries which are part of CONCACAF: Guyana, Suriname, and French Guyana). Even Qatar is participating in this tournament as a warm-up to their hosting the World Cup next year!

The teams who are most favored to do well: Mexico (the defending Gold Cup holders), USA, (recent winners of the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League tournament), Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, and Jamaica. However, even teams like Haiti have done well in recent tournaments, so there are no really easy opponents. It should be a great competition! ūüėé

 

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‚Ķand we have had our¬†first ‚Äúupset‚Ä̬†of¬†sorts, if a draw can¬†be labeled an upset.

The game between Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago has ended in a scoreless draw! That is very surprising! Mexico did score in the first minute of extra time at the end of the 2nd half, but a player was off-sides, ever so slightly. Special kudos have to go to the keeper for T&T - he was excellent and very, very busy. (There were also two stoppages of play in the 2nd half that I hope won’t be repeated in future matches. Both FIFA and CONCACAF are quite serious about taking action against the reason for these stoppages; if the reason for them continues, both federations are going to come down hard on the team. They are already talking about not having fans in the stands for the next two games in World Cup qualifying - the fans really need to stop. Enough said.)

Three games…well, now…later today! Stay tuned…

 

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Posted (edited)

OK, the three games in the Gold Cup last night went as follows:

Canada 4-1 Martinique

USA 1-0 Haiti

El Salvador 2-0 Guatemala

 

Those three results, combined with last night's unexpected draw in the Mexico/T&T match in Group A, make for strange group orders after one game:

Group A

El Salvador (3 pts./+2 GD)

Mexico (1 pt./0 GD)

Trinidad & Tobago (1 pt./0 GD)

Guatemala (0 pts./-2 GD)

 

Group B

Canada (3 pts./+3 GD)

USA (3 pts./+1 GD)

Haiti (0 pts./-1 GD)

Martinique (0 pts./-3 GD)

 

For Group A so far, the big winner is El Salvador - not only for winning, but for getting a second goal right before the end of the game. If they beat T&T (their next opponent), they will be in the quarterfinals. I still expect Mexico to win the group, but El Salvador is already in very good shape even after just one game.

For Group B, Canada is on top by goal difference, but we'll know much more about this group after the second games for all the teams. USA plays Martinique next; Canada plays Haiti - those fixtures will establish a more proper order of teams.

 

Group C gets going today - the two games today are:

Jamaica v Suriname

Costa Rica v Guadeloupe

 

Update again tomorrow!

 

Edited by dmway
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Posted (edited)

...and the first games in Group C are now finished!

The results:

Jamaica 2-0 Suriname

Costa Rica 3-1 Guadeloupe

 

Group C

Costa Rica  (3 pts./+2 GD)

Jamaica (3 pts./+2 GD)

Guadeloupe (0 pts./-2 GD)

Suriname (0 pts./-2 GD)

 

Costa Rica and Jamaica won games they were expected to win; however, it was an important win for Costa Rica - they hadn't won a game since 2019! They lost 11 straight until tonight's win. (Costa Rica are technically first at the moment due to the "goals scored" tiebreaker.)

 

Tomorrow, we finally get the first games for the last group, Group D - and, we finally get to see how Qatar will play in advance of their eventual hosting of the World Cup next year!

Qatar v Panama

Honduras v Grenada

 

Edited by dmway
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Posted (edited)

...and now game 1 in every group has been played!

The results for Group D tonight:

Qatar 3-3 Panama

Honduras 4-0 Grenada

 

Group D

Honduras (3 pts./+4 GD)

Panama (1 pt./0 GD)

Qatar (1 pt./0 GD)

Grenada (0 pts./-4 GD)

 

OK, as you can see, this group unexpectedly had more fireworks in their first games than the other 3 groups did! Qatar played VERY well! They had the lead on three different occasions tonight, and all 6 goals of the game were scored in the 2nd half - it was 0-0 at halftime! Panama needs to be commended for coming back each time; they really could have lost the game! The Honduras/Grenada game was close (1-0 at half; 2-0 at 52 minutes) for most of the game; however, Honduras exploded for two more goals late (86 and 88 minutes, respectively, for their 3rd and 4th goals). That will end up serving them very well in finishing in the top 2 of the group (and, at the same time, just about guarantee that Grenada will finish bottom of the group). How Panama and Qatar do individually against Honduras will determine which team joins Honduras in the quarterfinals from this group (provided that both teams don't beat Honduras - then they'll be watching the rest of the tournament on TV).

 

OK, the games later today! It's "Game 2 day" for Group A! So, the fixtures are:

Trinidad & Tobago v El Salvador

Guatemala v Mexico

(I feel sorry for Guatemala already - IMHO, Mexico is going to work out their frustrations on them from the first game. The score may end up being ugly... The T&T/El Salvador game is an intriguing one: can T&T replicate their great goalkeeping from their first game; can El Salvador be impressive again? The winner of this game (if there is one) will almost certainly be one of the top 2 teams in the group.)

 

Edited by dmway
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Let the 2nd games in each group begin! Tonight was the Group A's turn. The results:

Trinidad & Tobago 0-2 El Salvador

Guatemala 0-3 Mexico

 

So, that now makes the group look like this:

Group A

El Salvador (6 pts./+4 GD)

Mexico (4 pts./+3 GD)

Trinidad & Tobago (1 pt./-2 GD)

Guatemala (0 pts./-5 GD)

 

So, we have learned a few things from tonight's games: El Salvador has now clinched a quarterfinal berth, and Guatemala has been eliminated from play beyond the group stage. Mexico played much better tonight, most of all in terms of actually putting the ball in the net - Funes Mori had a nice brace of goals tonight. I forgot to mention after the first game that Mexico lost one of their best players to a head injury, the excellent Hirving Lozano. He is out for the remainder of the tournament, unfortunately. I hope he is able to be back for World Cup qualifying games in September. It would be a loss for soccer/football for him not to be able to play for an extended period.

Mexico has one foot in the quarterfinals, but they have not officially clinched yet (although a scenario whereby T&T finishes ahead of them after the final group game is very highly unlikely). However, Mexico does not want to advance to the quarterfinals as the group runner-up; they want to advance as group winners. So, that third game between Mexico and El Salvador will be intriguing to watch - does El Salvador go for it and try to beat Mexico straight up, or do they play adopt a very defensive style because even a draw clinches the group for them? Can Mexico be as offensively successful as they were against Guatemala when they play El Salvador, or will the goals be elusive as they were against T&T? It should be fun to watch!

 

OK - tomorrow (actually, later today), it is game 2 for all the teams in Group B:

Haiti v Canada

Martinique v USA

 

These matches will go a long way in determining the eventual order of the top 2 teams in the group; I suspect that there will be a flip after today's matches. Let's see what happens...

 

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...and now Group B has had their second games, and they had lots of goals! The results:

Haiti 1-4 Canada

Martinique 1-6 USA

 

So, now the group looks like this:

Group B

Canada (6 pts./+6 GD)

USA (6 pts./+6 GD)

Haiti (0 pts./-4 GD)

Martinique (0 pts./-8 GD)

 

So, very simply, this means a couple of things: Canada and the USA are both already in the quarterfinals, and Haiti and Martinique are now both eliminated. Canada is barely ahead of the USA on the "goals scored" tiebreaker (8 vs. 7 so far), so they are still technically first in the group at the moment. So, the Canada/USA game on Sunday will decide the group winner.

 

Tomorrow (more properly, later today) has the turn of Group C for their second games:

Guadeloupe v Jamaica

Suriname v Costa Rica

 

I suspect that Group C is going to resemble Group B after tonight's games are played; however, that can change - that's why the games are played...

 

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Today's (technically, yesterday's) games in Group C have finished - they were very entertaining!

Guadeloupe 1-2 Jamaica

Suriname 1-2 Costa Rica

 

The group now looks like this:

Group C

Costa Rica (6 pts./+3 GD)

Jamaica (6 pts./+3 GD)

Guadeloupe (0 pts./-3 GD)

Suriname (0 pts./-3 GD)

 

Like Group B yesterday, the top 2 teams (Costa Rica and Jamaica) have now qualified for the quarterfinals; the bottom two teams have been eliminated from play beyond the last group stage game. These games actually had a lot of drama. In each game, the team which eventually lost actually scored first. After the team who eventually won went ahead in their games, the other team had MANY near goals which almost tied the game again. Both matches were nail-biters until full time. However, the teams who were favored to win eventually prevailed.

 

Tomorrow (actually, later today), Group D has their 2nd games:

Grenada v Qatar

Panama v Honduras

 

The table could change quite a bit today - this group won't be fully settled until the 3rd games are played.

 

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Well, Group D has had the most entertaining games of this tournament, and one of the games today was the very best of the tournament so far! First, the scores of the 2nd games in Group D:

Grenada 0-4 Qatar

Panama 2-3 Honduras

 

So, the group now looks like this:

Group D

Honduras (6 pts./+5 GD)

Qatar (4 pts./+4 GD)

Panama (1 pt./-1 GD)

Grenada (0 pts./-8 GD)

 

Honduras has now clinched a berth in the quarterfinals, and Grenada will be watching the quarterfinals on TV (if they want to, that is). However, we learned a few things about this group today: Qatar is for real, Honduras is quite good (more in a second), and Panama has just had enough misfortune to risk not making the quarterfinals - frankly, they need a minor miracle now.  Qatar beat Grenada as badly as Honduras did, and they drew with Panama - they have scored 7 goals in 2 games! Who would have expected that before the tournament started?

The Honduras/Panama game was the game of the tournament so far - it was fantastic! If you missed it live, this is the game to watch a recording of if you can find it; if not, if you can track down the highlights, that would do. First, the atmosphere was great! The game was in Houston and Houston is a very cosmopolitan city. There are lots of people from all over the world there, just like NYC/LA/Chicago. Anyway, Houston has a LOT of people of Honduran descent, so many that the game was like a home game for them. The stadium was completely sold out too! Great atmosphere! The game was end-to-end for the majority of the game too! Honduras controlled the game early and got the first goal; then, Panama dominated the rest of the first half and was actually leading at halftime, 2-1. Then, in the 2nd half, the game got even more frenetic! Honduras scored twice just after the hour mark, two goals in a 4-minute stretch! Then the game was end-to-end for the remainder of the game! Panama had many near goals and one that was scored but disallowed due to off-sides. So, they just barely fell short of the draw that they really deserved - had they gotten the draw, they would be still in great shape as far as qualifying for the quarterfinals. Now, however, they need a lot of help.

 

Tomorrow (i.e., later today), we get all the games 3 for Groups A and B! The games in each individual group are also played simultaneously - so, the fixtures are:

Group B (games at 5 pm Eastern time)

USA v Canada

Martinique v Haiti

 

Group A (games at 10 pm Eastern time)

Mexico v El Salvador

Guatemala v Trinidad & Tobago

 

The games listed first in each group are for 1st place in that group - so, there is a lot of the line in those games. Both teams in each match are already in the quarterfinals. The games listed second in each group are between teams which are already eliminated from advancing to the quarterfinals; they are playing only for pride.

There will be simultaneous games 3 for Groups C and D on Tuesday. After all of those are played, the quarterfinals will be all set - those will played next weekend on Saturday and Sunday (two games each day). Things are about to get real!

 

 

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