The 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup officially kicks off on July 10th with its initial group stage matches, as four teams in each group will battle for the top two spots to advance into the knockout rounds. Group A is shaping up to be a good one with Mexico, the reigning Gold Cup champions, already the favorites to finish at the top.
Mexico is no stranger to the CONCACAF Gold Cup or its titles, as they’ve won the tournament 11 times, and eight times since it switched formats from the CONCACAF Championship to the Gold Cup in 1991. Tata Martino announced his 23-man roster and most notably missing is Chicharito, who yet again didn’t get a call-up — although his LA Galaxy teammates Jonathan dos Santos and Efrain Alvarez are both on the roster. LAFC star Carlos Vela is also not on the list, though he’s shown that he’s no longer interested in playing for the national team so it’s not much of a surprise.
Sporting Kansas City forward Alan Pulido got a call in what you would assume is Chicharito’s spot, and will likely highlight the attack going forward for the Mexican side. Other recognizable names include Carlos Salcedo, Jesus Corona, and Edson Alvarez.
El Salvador has been great in World Cup qualifying matches, going 5-1 in 2021. The team is 1-1-1 in its last three international matches and comes into the Gold Cup as a clear underdog to Mexico. However, this group is expected to qualify for the knockout round by finishing second in the group. Darwin Ceren and David Rugamas are two names to look out for. El Salvador has enough experience with nine squad players having more than 10 international matches under their belt.
Curaçao is not going to turn many heads, but the group is developing as a soccer nation and has some players worth watching. Leandro Bacuna and Rangelo Janga can be exciting in attack and will be important for Curaçao to continue building the program up.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago rounds out Group A as the fourth team who qualified after winning both of their Gold Cup Preliminary games, defeating Montserrat 6-1 in regular time and then sneaking past French Guiana in a penalty shootout where 15 shots were taken, but T&T finally got the edge and won 8-7 on penalties. Although they’ve never won a Gold Cup title, they finished as runners-up in 1973 and have made 16 appearances since its inception in 1963. They didn’t escape the group stage in 2019 but will look to players like Kevin Molino and Marcus Joseph to help them make a decent run in this year’s tournament.
Mexico: -1000, OTB
El Salvador: +700, +100
Curacao: +900, +125
Trinidad & Tobago: +2200, +275
Group A Schedule
- Saturday, July 10, 5:00 p.m. El Salvador vs. Curaçao (Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX)
- Saturday, July 10, 10:00 p.m. Mexico vs. Trinidad and Tobago (AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX)
- Wednesday, July 14, 7:30 p.m. Trinidad and Tobago vs. El Salvador (Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX)
- Wednesday, July 14, 9:30 p.m. Curaçao vs. Mexico (Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX)
- Sunday, July 18, 10:00 p.m. Mexico vs. El Salvador (Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX)
- Sunday, July 18, 10:00 p.m. Curaçao vs. Trinidad and Tobago (Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX)
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