The Gold Cup enters its quarterfinals this weekend. Eight nations made it out of the four groups cutting the field in half. Now it’s time for knockout football. Here’s a preview of all of the matches in your guide to the 2021 Gold Cup Quarterfinals
2021 Gold Cup Quarterfinals
This tournament so far has shown that favorites Mexico and USA are playing at a high level without their top rosters. Costa Rica and Honduras made sure they had the opportunity to compete in the knockout rounds as well. The other four nations are all surprises and coming-out parties. Canada and El Salvador looked really good and almost won their groups respectively. Qatar the only guest nation at the tournament won their group. Jamaica were runners up just barely, and look to play the biggest of spoilers. These 8 nations compete in the quarterfinals this Saturday (July 24) and Sunday (July 25). Here’s a preview of those matches.
Qatar takes El Salvador, securing one surprise will make it to the semis
Qatar was able to take seven points from Group D and top it. The only non-Concacaf nation has shown very well scoring nine goals and only conceding three. They now turn their sights to Group A runners-up El Salvador.
El Salvador has also been an impressive side in this Gold Cup. They took six points from their three matches and almost was able to take points from Group A winners Mexico. El Salvador will be up for and ready for the 2021 Gold Cup quarterfinals against Qatar!
These two nations actually met recently right before the start of this tournament in a friendly. It was a very odd match, to say the least. Qatar got a first-half red card, but El Salvador wasn’t able to get anything from the match. It eventually ended 1-0 in favor of Qatar. This quarterfinal will be very different. Both nations have loved taking it to their opposition in this tournament. El Salvador has also had huge crowds supporting them where they play. Will that crowd support be enough for them to push on and make the semifinals, or will guest nation Qatar be able to score at the rate they have over their group stage games to get them to the Quarters?
Mexico look to keep good run of form going against familiar foe Honduras
Mexico normally cruises through the Gold Cup as one of the favorites. This time around that is still the case, but they had one bump in the road in their group stage. Their opening match in Group A play a goalless draw against Trinidad and Tobago was a head-scratcher. Mexico did follow it up with two wins over Guatemala and El Salvador, but is this team the same El Tri we’ve seen in Gold Cups past?
Honduras started the tournament strong in Group D play getting wins over Grenada and Panama. Their final mayday was where things got a little shaky. A 2-0 loss to guest-nation Qatar meant Honduras would finish second in the group and have to take on their familiar foe of Mexico in the quarterfinals.
These two are no strangers to one another. They’ve met often in games of consequence, whether it be previous Gold Cups or World Cup qualifying. In their last eight meetings of consequence, Mexico has won four, Honduras has won two, and there have been two draws. The advantage certainly goes Mexico’s way. However, their most recent match was a 0-0 draw in a friendly shed of the Gold Cup. Can Honduras sit back and absorb El Tri’s pressure and hit on the counter-attack? Or will Mexico be able to dominate the game and concede no goals as they’ve not let in a single goal in this tournament so far?
Canada will try to take their next giant step against Costa Rica
Canada is most definitely a rising nation in Concacaf. They took six points from their play in Group B, made it to the quarterfinals of this Gold Cup, and the “Octagonal” (final round) of World Cup Qualifying. The only thing Canada has going against it is that they seem to not be able to beat the powers in Concacaf. They failed to beat the USA in a match that looked winnable on the final matchday, and now have to play a fading powerhouse, Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is like a classic rock radio station, they love to play the hits from years past. Their team is experienced but can fade later on in matches. Despite that, they swept through Group C at this Gold Cup beating Guadalupe, Suriname, and Jamaica. They were one of only two nations to take all three points in this group stage and look to carry that momentum forward to the 2021 Gold Cup quarterfinals.
This match will be interesting because these nations rarely meet. This will only be the fourth time since 2013 that Costa Rica and Canada play each other. Costa Rica is the only nation that’s won a match in these meetings, the two other games were draws. Canada is a very good team now, and while they’re dealing with injuries, their pace of attack down the wings creates great chances. Costa Rica will need to have the legs to keep up with the youthful Canada side. Will Canada be able to finally win a big Concacaf match? Or will Costa Rica’s mainstays keep moving forward on another deep tournament run?
USA will have to stop a strong Jamaican side to get to the semifinals
The USMNT cruised to the top of Group B winning all three of their group stage matches against Haiti, Martinique, and Canada. This “B-Team” for the USA now gets to really be tested in a knockout game. This roster is generally unproven in these types of matches, but we will get to see the red, white, and blue take on the Raegea Boyz of Jamaica in the quarterfinals.
Jamaica was the runners up in Group C play. They almost won their group but fell to Costa Rica on the final matchday. This Jamaica side has shown that it can be explosive in the attack, and strong defensively. They’ve scored four goals and only allowed two so far in this tournament. Their performances have carried them to high places as they look to gain vital experience in these knockout rounds which they hope will be a precursor to World Cup qualifying success!
If you think this match will be an easy one for the USA, think again. Jamaica has a great attack that strikes fear into its opponents. Leon Bailey is their star player and he’ll be attacking down the right side for Jamaica. This means the USMNT left side will need to be diligent in stopping his attacks from wide positions. Historically the USA dominates games against Jamaica. In their previous 11 matches, USMNT has beaten the Reggae Boyz eight times. Will this relatively inexperienced USA side be able to beat a very good Jamaican side and keep their Gold Cup hopes? Or is this the time Jamaica can stick it to their Concacaf rivals and beat the USA?
Don’t miss the action this weekend
All four of these matches take place this weekend on Saturday and Sunday night! Here’s a look at the matches, times, and where you can watch them:
- Qatar vs El Salvador | Saturday, July 24 @ 7:30 pm EST | Fox
- Mexico vs Honduras | Saturday, July 24 @ 10:00 pm EST | FS1
- Canada vs Costa Rica | Sunday, July 25 @ 7:00 pm EST | FS1
- USA vs Jamaica | Sunday, July 25 @ 9:30 pm EST | FS1
We at Philly Sports Network will continue to be here every step of the way to keep an eye on this tournament. After watching the action, come on back for recaps and previews of the next enthralling rounds!
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Mandatory Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire