The 2021 Gold Cup Semifinals showcased four nations that provided two top-class matches! Qatar-USA and Mexico-Canda both had late-game drama! Both matches were determined by goals after the 85th minute! In the end, the Gold Cup Final will be the matchup everyone wanted to see. We take a look back at these two semifinals as we continue to look back at the 2021 Gold Cup!
2021 Gold Cup Semifinals
This edition of the Gold Cup Semifinals had the two favorites still alive fighting against a guest nation and an underdog on the rise. Qatar, the highest-scoring team left in the field took on a USA side that has been organized but not a dominating side. Mexico had not conceded at all in the 2021 Gold Cup and would try to keep that streak going against a young and hungry Canadian side. Both games produced fireworks in the form of late game-winning goals!
USA beat Qatar thanks to late Gyasi Zardes goal
The USA vs Qatar match was one of two different styles clashing. USA loves to build up their attacks through poession, getting numbers forward to create chances. Qatar loves to sit back absorb pressure and then spring counter attacks getting their defenders involved in the attack. This one showed that these two styles going head to hear makes for a fun match.
Qatar looked the better team in the first half as their quick breaks created early chances that made the USMNT backline scramble. Qatar put up 18 shots in this match, but only two of them were on target. Those two shots were saved by USA keeper Matt Turner. He had himself a game making those two huge and instinctive saves to keep the USA in the match. A missed penalty also kept the USA alive.
Qatar did miss a penalty about half way through the second half. After a questionable penalty was given, there was a lot of extra curricular activities going on between the two teams. It prolonged the time between the call being given and the penalty. Which, resulted Hassan Al Haidos skying the penalty to keep USA in the game. As the match went on, the USA got better and better looks on goal. Some nice work between substitutes Nicholas Gioacchini and Gyasi Zardes gave the USA the lead in the 86th minute. Qatar couldn’t answer that and the USA were through to the final!
Mexico spoil brilliant effort by Canada with 90th-minute stunner
Mexico are Concacaf giants, Canada are concacaf underdogs. They met in a Gold Cup semifinal match for the ages! A the match opened up, it was clear that Canda were not going to role over and let Mexico dictate the game. Mexico and Canda went back and forth in the first 45 minutes. It looked like the match was going to be nil-nil at the half, but then a penalty was awarded to Mexico.
Right before halftime Mexico was awarded a penalty after a VAR review. It was converted Orbelin Pineda and Mexico had the lead going into halftime. Canada felt hard done, but they came out in the second half more firery than the they were in the first! 12 minutes after the second half started Canada equalized thanks to two MLS players. Mark-Anthony Kaye picked out Tajon Buchanan who fired home the tying goal. Not long after that goal went in it looked like Mexico would jump ahead again.
Mexico got another penalty, but this time a different taker stepped up and missed the chance. Carlos Salcedo was that player and it took Mexico off their game a bit. The match looked destined to go to extra time that is until the nineth minute of second half stoppage time. Rodolfo Pizarro did very weel to create an attack and found Héctor Herrera in the box to slot home the chance to give Mexico the lead and the win! Mexico were off to face their greatest rival in the final!
It’s USA-Mexico in the 2021 Gold Cup Final
It’s happening! The final that we all wanted at Gold Cup 2021 is going down in Las Vegas on Sunday night! It’s the USA vs Mexico for Concacaf’s biggest trophy! This is going to be a fun match, as it will be the first time these two nations meet since the USMNT beat Mexico in the Nations League final back in June! While it will be a rematch, the teams will look noticeably different than that game.
As has been overly stated, this is a “B Team” for the USA at this Gold Cup. Their top-choice players were not brought in for this tournament. They brought in players on the fringes of the team that would be included in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers to see if they could compete in a major tournament. They’ve done just that, and now meet a Mexico team that is a bit different from the one in June as well.
The influential top players of Mexico are split between this Gold Cup roster, and their Olympic Games roster. Mexico has had to figure out which players would play in this Gold Cup and who would represent their country in the Olympics. Of the two teams in the final, Mexico has more of their normal players at the Gold Cup. This match will be a great one between two heated rivals.
As always, Philly Sports Network will have you covered with a full preview of this match and a recap after either the USMNT or Mexico lifts the Gold Cup Sunday night! Stay tuned for all the action!
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Mandatory Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire