2023 Gold Cup Preview: Group C

The 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup is kicking off this weekend. This is a month-long international tournament where 16 nations battle it out to win the giant Gold Cup trophy and gain supremacy over the other nations in the region! We’ll be following along with all the action, but first, let’s take a look at the groups and nations competing continuing with Group C!

Gold Cup
CHICAGO, IL – JULY 07: A detail view of the 2019 Gold Cup Trophy is seen after the CONCACAF Gold Cup final match between the United States and Mexico on July 07, 2019, at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

Group C of the 2023 Gold Cup

Group C has four Concacaf nations who all have something to prove. Costa Rica, Panama, and El Salvador are perennial nations in the final stages of World Cup qualifying; however, they don’t always lead to success. Those three are joined by Martinique who had to qualify for the Gold Cup through preliminary rounds.

With this group being one without a true powerhouse, it leaves the door open for one of these four to assert their dominance. Panama seems the most likely to do so, but no one should count Costa Rica or El Salvador out. Who knows, maybe Martinique will find a way to shock everyone!

Gold Cup
CHICAGO, IL – JULY 07: A detail view of the 2019 Gold Cup Trophy is seen after the CONCACAF Gold Cup final match between the United States and Mexico on July 07, 2019, at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)


Panama is another of the Concacaf nations that is always around in the bigger competitions but fail to actually get too far in the completions. Their talent is there, the execution is just lacking at times. This is what happened at the last round of World Cup qualifying as they missed out on the playoff spot by four points. Their run to the Nations League semifinals was impressive, but their loss to Canada in the semis was not. Can this team do any different at the Gold Cup?

If Panama was able to show well at these bigger tournaments, they’d likely be the favorite in Group C. This might actually be a blessing in disguise for the Panamanians. Since they are not seen as the favorite, they might feel more free to go out there and win the group. If they can do that, then maybe they’ll actually go on a deep run at this Gold Cup.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a once great Concacaf powerhouse that has been aging out over the last few years. Their team has not been able to overcome what was a golden generation coming to an end. There has been little youth injected into this side in the past. In spite of all that, Costa Rica still made it to last winter’s World. Up through international playoffs. Now they look to show the same grit in the Gold Cup.

Costa Rica may have a great resolve, and a great goalkeeper in Kaylor Navas, but that hasn’t translated to wins in recent history. Over their last seven games, they have won two and lost seven. Could this play a factor in their 2023 Gold Cup hopes? Los Ticos are still going to be a favorite to get out of Group C, but will need to show much better than they have in recent matches.

El Salvador

El Salvador is a nation that is always involved in Concacaf competitions, but always seems to be too mid-tier to make any real progress. Their tendency is to make it to the final stages of completions (World Cup qualifying or the Gold Cup) then they stall. Will we see the same old El Salvador at this Gold Cup?

While El Salvador is often a non-factor once they get into bigger matches, their group not having a clear favorite could present a huge opportunity. The opportunity is to come out and actually outplay these opponents who are closer to their level. Getting wins over nations like Costa Rica and Panama could go a long way to squashing the current narrative around El Salvador.



Martinique is yet another nation that qualified for the Concacaf Gold Cup through the preliminary rounds. Beating Saint Lucia over the weekend, and Puerto Rico earlier this week catapulted this small nation to the region’s biggest stage. Could this be the springboard that helps Martinique get some more recognition among the Concacaf nations? 

If this side wants that recognition, then they’ll need to beat the teams that are in the tier above them. Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Panama are good teams, but none is a powerhouse in the region. Getting draws or finding a way to beat any of them will be a huge confidence boost that could just push this Martinique team past the group stage and into the knockout rounds. 

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Mandatory Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire