CONCACAF Gold Cup: Group Stage

Saturday 8 - Monday 10 July

The CONCACAF Gold Cup will get underway this weekend, with Mexico slight favourites ahead of hosts USA to lift the trophy.

The tournament is made up of 12 teams divided into three groups of four. The top two finishers in each group are given automatic knockout stage spots, but two of the best third placed teams also advance.

Group A consists of Honduras, Costa Rica, French Guiana and Canada.

USA will be pitted against Martinique, Nicaragua and Panama in Group B.

Curacao, El Salvador, Jamaica and defending champions Mexico are featured in Group C.

Saturday 8 July

4/1 French Guiana | Draw 28/10 | Canada 13/20 (01:00)
French Guiana, captained by ex-Chelsea star Florent Malouda, will be making their first-ever appearance in the CONCACAF Gold Cup after finishing third in the Caribbean Cup. Canada, who won the Gold Cup tournament in 2000, are undefeated in their last three friendlies, having beaten Bermuda 4-2 and Curacao 2-1, in between a 1-1 draw away to Scotland. Canada are favourites in this tie and I’m backing them to win comfortably.

26/10 Honduras | 43/20 | Costa Rica 11/10 (03:00)
The result of this match will likely determine the winner of Group A. Costa Rica are one of the strongest teams in the tournament, with familiar names like Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruiz on their roster. They are currently in very good shape in World Cup Qualifying – their only loss has come against Mexico. Honduras are winless in their last five matches, suffering two defeats. They were thumped 6-0 by USA in California and 3-0 away to Mexico. Costa Rica are tipped to win at 11/10.

15/20 United States | 24/10 | Panama 15/4 (22:30)
The United States, winners of the 2013 Gold Cup, are strong favourites to top Group B, but Panama will be their biggest threat. These sides played out a 1-1 draw in a World Cup Qualifier in March, while Panama beat the U.S. in the previous edition of the Gold Cup – 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. USA are unbeaten in their last six home games with four wins, while Panama have won just once in their last eight travels, suffering five defeats. The hosts are tipped for victory at 15/20.

Sunday 9 July

19/10 Martinique | 2/1 | Nicaragua 31/20 (01:00)
Both of these teams are considered minnows at this tournament. Martinique have not won a game since last October, while Nicaragua have lost five of their last seven matches. A win for either side will be crucial to their hopes of reaching the knockout stages. A tight affair is expected with the sides tipped to cancel each other out at 2/1.

Monday 10 July

23/10 Curacao | 2/1 | Jamaica 5/4 (01:00)
Curacao, making their first appearance in a Gold Cup, will be high on confidence heading into this tie after winning the Caribbean Cup last month, where they coincidently defeated Jamaica in the final. The island nation will be hoping to replicate that result. Jamaica will be out to avenge that loss and also look to build upon their wonderful showing in the 2015 Gold Cup when they finished second. Both sides are prolific in front of goal and we should see goals from both teams at 21/20.

1/4 Mexico | 47/10 | El Salvador 19/2 (03:00)
An alternate Mexico side will compete in the 2017 Gold Cup after their top players took part in the Confederations Cup. However, despite being without their stars, El Tri still have the talent to go far in this tournament. Mexico have an outstanding record against El Salvador, winning 13 of their last 15 meetings. El Salvador are winless in their last three friendly matches. Following back-to-back draws against Curacao and Honduras, they were well beaten away to Ecuador. Back Mexico to win at 1/4.

TREBLE @ 6/1
Canada Win 13/20
Costa Rica Win 11/10
Curacao vs Jamaica BTTS 21/20

Chadley Nagel

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