The CONCACAF Gold Cup 2021 enters its quarterfinals this weekend. The minnows have been separated from the continent’s top teams. There will be no second chance as the competition goes through its crucial stages.
The group stages produced lots of excitement and drama with six red cards shown in 24 matches played. The only surprise so far would be Trinidad and Tobago who finished with just two points and failed to qualify for the knockouts.
In the same vein, El Salvador is looking like the dark horse of the competition having qualified in second place at the expense of the Soca Warriors.
The United States took out all comers in the previous stage. They remain favourites for the title alongside Costa Rica who was dominant in group C.
Everything is set for four tasty quarterfinal matches to determine the final four teams.
Qatar vs El Salvador
Qatar is the only invited guest for this year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup and they have been very competitive.
The Asian country finished as Group D winners with 7 points, winning two and managing a draw against Panama. Their play has been eye-catching, translating to nine goals scored (the most in the tournament). The oil-rich nation was grouped alongside Honduras, Panama and Grenada.
Regardless, the 2022 World Cup hosts will look to get to the semifinals in their debut at the competition.
Sanchez will be counting on 30-year-old Abdulaziz Hatem to put up a good showing after being outstanding up till this point.
El Salvador will be desperate to break its quarterfinal jinx having reached the last eight three times in the last five editions.
The Selecta finished second behind Mexico in group A with two wins, losing to Mexico. However, they have found scoring a tad difficult. They have managed just four goals in three matches.
They are on the rise and recently qualified for the final round of the 2022 World Cup. Jairo Henriquez will prove key for Hugo Perez.
This promises to be end-to-end with both teams evenly matched and having plenty to fight for.
Prediction: Over 1.5 goals
Mexico vs Honduras
Mexico is one of the favourites to win the Concacaf Gold Cup. They haven’t been convincing at this competition, scoring just four goals.
The Tricolor was grouped alongside El Salvador, Trinidad and Guatemala. They played out a goalless draw with Trinidad and Tobago before winning their next two matches.
Gerard Martino has a lot to prove with this Mexican side who are defending champions of the competition. The Argentine manager also named a strong team for this tournament.
Jonathan Dos Santos and Funes Mori will be the players to watch out for.
The 2019 winners will feel that Honduras is an easier fish to fry and will fancy their chances.
Honduras, on the other hand, will be looking to go for it. They were the third-best team at the Nations League and will hope to consolidate on that feat to earn a spot in the quarterfinals.
Romell Quioto is having an excellent tournament with three goals. He will look to pose as much danger to the Mexican defence.
Based on the overall quality of both teams, Mexico should do just enough to progress.
Prediction: Mexico to win
Costa Rica vs Canada
This is outrightly the biggest match of this stage. Costa Rica and Canada are two of the biggest teams in North America. They will go head-to-head for a place in the semifinals.
Costa Rica finished as the winner of Group C with a 100% record. It would be said that their route was easier in relation to their opponents.
The Ticos, however, have been the most undisciplined team at this competition, recording two red cards in their last two matches.
Joel Campbell and veteran, Brian Ruiz will be the leaders going into this fixture.
Canada missed out on the services of full-back, Alphonso Davies due to injury. However, they managed to finish second behind the United States scoring eight goals
Cyle Larin had an excellent group stage, scoring three goals. He is one the Costa Rican defence will do well to put in check.
This is particularly close to call, except that there will be goals in this encounter.
Prediction: Over 2.5 goals
USA vs Jamaica
The USA is the bookmakers’ favourite for the Concacaf Gold Cup. They have come into this tournament on the back of the Nations League win.
The Yanks have lived up to the hype winning three out of three group stage matches, including a 1-0 win against Canada.
Even with a much-changed team from the Nations League, they have been dominant so far.
Jamaica expectedly qualified from group C that included Suriname and Guadaloupe who they defeated.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey is yet to light up the tournament. Theodore Withmore will expect his midfielder to stand up and be counted.
The USA should win this encounter more comfortably.
Prediction: USA to win