If you feel that the Confederations Cup ended too soon, or if you just need some competitive matches to watch this month, have no fear. The 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup is here to satisfy your international football needs.
The last edition of this tournament that took place two years ago saw Mexico lift the trophy after defeating Jamaica 3-1 in the final.
This year, the Gold Cup will take place in the United States again and the host nation surely fancies their chances of adding another trophy to their cabinet.
Join us for a quick preview of the group stages and stay tuned for our coverage throughout the tournament.
Teams: Honduras, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Canada
Group A features Central American champions Honduras as well as Costa Rica, who have suffered from patchy form in the past few years but are always capable of a strong showing. The group is rounded out by Canada, who were automatically qualified, and Caribbean contestants French Guiana, who are making their first Gold Cup appearance in their history.
Honduras and Costa Rica appear to be the favorites to advance as the top two teams in the group, but these teams will also have World Cup qualifying on their minds, which could open the door for one of the smaller teams of the group. A few favorable results for Canada or French Guiana could see either of them through as one of the two best third-placed teams of the tournament.
Here’s a factoid: Canada are the only previous Gold Cup winners in this group. But their first and only win came all the way back in 2000, so you’d be forgiven for not remembering it.
Teams: United States, Panama, Martinique, Nicaragua
United States can easily be considered one of the favorites to win in this edition of the Gold Cup. After a disappointing fourth-placed finish two years ago, the Americans will look to redeem themselves on home soil once again by reaching the finals and walking away with the title.
Panama are another team that have done reasonably well in this competition, finishing as runners-up on two occasions. While they do have a decent chance of making it past the group stage, they may not be able to measure up against some of the more organized sides in the knockout stages.
Martinique and Nicaragua have their work cut out for them in this group. The Caribbean minnows have qualified for this competition five times, while this is only Nicaragua’s second appearance in the Gold Cup. Between these teams there will be a fierce fight for a result in every match.
Here’s a factoid: All of USA’s five title wins in this tournament happened when they were the host country. But maybe that’s just because they host almost every Gold Cup.
Teams: Mexico, El Salvador, Curaçao, Jamaica
Mexico are just coming off the back of the Confederations Cup, where they finished fourth. Judging by their team selections, they were clearly prioritizing that competition over the Gold Cup. But even though they’re not sending their best, the defending champions are always capable of getting a result against their CONCACAF opponents.
This still opens the door for the rest of the group to get favorable results and advance to the next stage. Curaçao, who are also making their Gold Cup debut, will be able to battle it out with Jamaica once again after defeating them in the Caribbean Cup.
El Salvador and Jamaica are no strangers to this competition, however. Both teams will be making their 10th appearance in the Gold Cup and are fully capable of getting out of this somewhat favorable group.
Here’s a factoid: Curaçao are currently ranked 68th in the FIFA rankings, making them the fifth-highest ranked team at the 2017 Gold Cup. So even though their name sounds like a dish you’d politely refuse from your grandmother, they are the Caribbean force to be reckoned with at this tournament.