The Concacaf Gold Cup has reached the knockout stages! The elite eight are ready to face off in the quarterfinals. Three wins is all that stands in the way of one of these eight teams from hoisting the Gold Cup. Who will be able to get the ball rolling in the quarterfinals?
Gold Cup Quarterfinals
Panama vs Qatar
Panama won Group C beating Costa Rica and Martinique, and drawing El Salvador. They are coming into the elite eight of the Gold Cup with something to prove. They have scored two goals a game at this tournament, but have let in at least one in every game as well. Can this nation that is looking to be considered among the big boys of Concacaf get a huge win and make a semifinal of another tournament?
Qatar has made yet another knockout stage at the Gold Cup. They have been the invitees to the last two tournaments and made runs to the knockout rounds each time. This version of Qatar just barely made it to this stage; they lost to Haiti, drew Honduras, then got a shocking win over Mexico on the final day to make it out of Group B. This is a team that sits and counters and has done so well enough to score first in each of their three group-stage games. However, they are a side that struggles when the opposition gets under their skin.
Who will be moving on to the semifinals? Will it be a Concacaf side with something to prove or the guests who find a way to survive and advance? Kickoff is set for Saturday, July 8 at 7:00 pm EST!
Mexico vs Costa Rica
Mexico topped Group B in this Gold Cup, but there have been bumps that are not normal for this Concacaf giant along the way. They blew out Honduras 4-0, then put three goals past Haiti, but concluded group play with a loss to guest nation Qatar. While they have scored seven goals and conceded just two in group-stage play. this team is still a shell of their past teams that were dominating forces. If you can out-possess them, and frustrate them, then Mexico becomes rattled and disjointed. Could this be their demise early in the knockout rounds?
Costa Rica has been a team in turmoil. They were able to make it to this past winter’s World Cup through an intercontinental playoff but failed to show quality getting outscored 11-3 over three matches. Since the World Cup, this team has won just twice, one of which came at this Gold Cup group stage. It didn’t look like Costa Rica would make the knockouts after a loss to Panama and a draw vs El Salvador, but they found a win against Martinique to keep their tournament hopes alive. Now they’ll need to turn up their intensity and quality against a Mexico that has lost only once to Costa Rica in their last 16 matches against them.
Which one of these struggling Concacaf giants will make their way to the semifinals? Will Mexico wake up again, or will Costa Rica get their second win of this calendar year? Kickoff is set for Saturday, July 8 at 9:30 pm EST!
Guatemala vs Jamaica
Guatemala has been one of the smaller Concacaf nations to make a knockout round run at this Gold Cup, but that does not mean that they are going to go down without a fight. They beat Cuba, drew Canada, and beat Guadeloupe to win Group D. Their team has been one that has produced fun to watch soccer, and it makes them a true underdog coming into the quarterfinals. The rest of the teams left in the tournament have all performed well, but this Guatemala side is one that has nothing to lose. Could they shock everyone and continue this run to the semifinals?
Jamaica was runners-up in Group A but only on goal difference. They scored four fewer goals than the USA, but they are still a dark horse to make it far at this Gold Cup. Jamaica’s draw against the USA and big wins over Trinidad and Tobago and St. Kitts and Nevis have their confidence high. Now it’s time to show why the Reggae Boyz were a dark horse to win this tournament before the start of it.
We will see one of these smaller concacaf nations make it to the semifinals. Will it be the Caribbean nation Jamaica, or the Central American side Guatemala? Kickoff is set for Sunday, July 9 at 5:00 pm EST!
USA vs Canada
USA has been flying high at this Gold Cup with a B-team like they did in the 2021 version of this tournament. While this group stage was much easier for the red, white, and, blue, it hasn’t had an effect on the way the team plays their game. The USMNT has been overwhelming its opposition with its possessive style of play; this has led to great results. A 1-1 draw against Jamaica, and two 6-0 wins over St. Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago saw the USA finish first in Group A. Now the US will look to keep their momentum going against a Canada B-team that has been struggling. Could this be a second big win against Canada in as many months?
Canada was the top dog in Concacaf World Cup qualifying and made it to the Concacaf Nation’s League Final. However, they underperformed at the World Cup and suffered a blowout loss to the USA in the Nations League Final. Looking to bounce back from that, a group that is considered to be their B-team was able to find a way to make the knockout rounds of this Gold Cup. Draws against Guadeloupe and Guatemala, and a last-day win over Cuba pushed them to be runners-up in Group D. Now they are looking to show that they can best the USA’s B-team in a match with a semifinal bid on the line!
Which of these two North American juggernauts will be left standing? Can the USA continue to dominate the Gold Cup, or will Canada knock their southern neighbors off their perch? Kickoff is set for Sunday, July 8 at 7:30 pm EST!
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Mandatory Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire & AP Photo/David Banks