The Gold Cup moved to the knockout stages with the quarterfinals this past weekend. The eight nations that made it out of their groups played win-or-go-home matches to determine who would make it to the final four. These matches did not disappoint. They brought the moments of drama expected of a knockout match. Here’s a look back on the 2021 Gold Cup Quarterfinals.
2021 Gold Cup Quarterfinals
The 2021 Gold Cup Quarterfinals showcased nations who would put it all on the line to make it closer to the title of Concacaf champions. Guest nation Qatar made the knockout rounds and took on one of the biggest surprises of the tournament El Salvador. Tournament favorites Mexico played Honduras in a classic Concacf match. Canada looked to knock off region giants Costa Rica. The USA took on Jamacia in a thrilling match as well. All of this action went down, so without further ado, here’s a look back at the quarterfinal.
Qatar outlast late push from El Salvador
Qatar came in as the guest nation and made it to the knockout rounds winning their Group. El Salvador shocked many coming up one point short of winning Group A over Mexico. These two met in one of the most anticipated quarterfinals in this tournament.
From the jump, it was clear that Qatar was the more confident in attack. Before either team could get some genuine possession together, Qatar had the opening goal. Their second-minute opener was shocking, but so was their second goal which came only four minutes later. Six minutes into the match, Qatar had a 2-0 lead. El Salvador was just as surprised as the rest of us, and had to struggle their way into a second-half down by two.
Early in the second half, Qatar picked up where they left off, scoring the third goal from a penalty. After that third goal, El Salvador woke up and tried to make the match more competitive. They showed their fiery possession-based play for the rest of the second half that did get them back in the match. After scoring two goals ahead of the 70th minute, they felt inspired to try for an equalizer. Unfortunately for El Salvador, Qatar shut them down and held on to win 3-2. Qatar advances to play the winner of the USA-Jamaica match.
Mexico smash Honduras 3-0
Mexico won Group A despite opening their tournament with a 0-0 draw to Trinidad and Tobago. Honduras almost won Group D but failed to get a win in a match that mattered most. This quarterfinal was one-sided and that match was effectively over in the first half.
El Tri came out firing to start the game. They knew that Honduras liked to sit back and absorb pressure and hit on the counter-attack, so Mexico took the game to them. It took over 25 minutes of trying, but Mexico broke down Honduras in the first half more than once. They scored the opener in the 26th minute, got a second goal five minutes later, and added a third seven minutes after their second. That’s three goals in a 12-minute span.
Honduras tried to get something together in their attack but was very uncomfortable doing so. They couldn’t put passes together, and Mexico continued to dominate possession. El Tri had the advantage on every passing and shooting stat. It leads to their win and moving onto the semifinals. They knew they’d take on the winner of Canada and Costa Rica.
Canada takes huge step shutting out Costa Rica
Canada fell just a bit short in their group. They failed to win their big match against the USA and now had to go up against Concacaf giants Costa Rica. Los Tico’s won their group, winning all three matches. They had the momentum with them heading into this quarterfinal, but in the first half that showed their flaws.
Costa Rica showed that they could pass the ball well, but that passing inevitably led to nowhere. This allowed Canada to get settled into the match and into their possession that they like to keep. The possession was even throughout the match, and it was clear that the team that could find and takes their chances would end up winning this match.
It was clear that on this day that Canada was the one that was going to take its chances. They scored in the 18th minute and that one goal looked enough to halt Costa Rica from getting into the match. In the second half, Los Ticos had more possession that had no final pass or finishes, and Canada found a backbreaking goal. The Canauck’s second goal did Costa Rica in for good. Canada is on to a Gold Cup Semifinal where they’ll face Mexico!
USA beat Jamaica in dramatic fashion
The USMNT won Group B. They didn’t always look the best while doing it, but their second-choice squad got the job done. Jamaica was edged in Group C on the final matchday. Their runners-up status by no means meant that they were not up to the level of the USA. This quarterfinal was one that was close and could have gone either way.
The first half was dominated by the USA in terms of possession, but Jamaica created some really good chances off of their counterattack. In this match, steller goalkeeping was on display as the USMNT’s Matt Turner and Jamaica’s Andre Blake showed off spectacular saves to keep their teams in contention to find a game-winning goal.
As the match moved to the second half, the game felt like the tide was turning the USA’s way. Jamaica’s press wasn’t getting the ball off of the USMNT’s midfield buildup, and the ball was able to be swung wide. This is how the USA found their winning goal inside the final 10 minutes of the game. A great ball was put into the box by Christian Roldan, where attacker Matthew Hoppe was able to leap over an outstretched Andre Blake to head home the ball. The USA held on after the goal to win the match. They now advance to the semifinals to take on guest nation Qatar!
The Semifinals are next!
We now know that Mexico, Canada, USA, and Qatar are the final four nations battling to make the 2021 Gold Cup final. These four nations have looked the best throughout the tournament so far. These matchups should give us great contests with a final on the line! Here’s a look at the matches that will take place on Thursday, July 29:
- Qatar vs USA | 7:30 pm EST | FS1
- Mexico vs Canada | 10:00 pm EST | FS1
First up will be the USMNT’s “B Team” taking on Asain champions Qatar. This should be a very fun and open match. This will be followed up with tournament favorites Mexico going up against underdog Canada! Both of these matches should be very fun, don’t miss the action! We’ll have you covered with a preview of both matches tomorrow here on Philly Sports Network.
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Mandatory Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire