The first CONCACAF Nations League group stage has concluded, and there are some teams that are celebrating promotion to League A or B, while others are lamenting the lost chances as they are relegated down to League B or C. Who were the big winners and losers?
The Group A winners were Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, and the United States. The USMNT won by defeating Cuba 4-0 to supplant Canada at the top of Group A on goal differential. Mexico won last night in stoppage time against Bermuda, which meant Bermuda was relegated from League A in tough fashion. They had the lead on El Tri in Toluca early last night before Mexico came back to win. Costa Rica won Group D with just 1 win and 3 draws, inching past Curaçao and Haiti.
Mexico will take on Costa Rica in the Nations League semifinals in June, while Honduras will face the USMNT. Those 4 teams also qualified for the 2021 Gold Cup. Martinique, Panama, Curaçao, and Canada also qualified for the Gold Cup by finishing 2nd in their respective groups. Cuba, Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago, and Haiti were relegated to League B, and they will have to continue with the 2nd round of Gold Cup qualification next year. Here are the final League A standings:
Grenada, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Suriname are your group winners, and they earn promotion to League A as well as Gold Cup qualification. Suriname had a huge win over Nicaragua and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, who were in first place in Group D, had a shock loss to Dominica that cost them promotion. Vincy Heat, along with French Guiana, Montserrat, and Guyana, finish in 2nd place in their respective groups and will have to continue with Gold Cup qualification.
Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Aruba, and Dominica all get relegated to League C, meaning their chances of Gold Cup qualification are over. The rest of the League B standings:
Barbados, Bahamas, Guatemala, and Guadeloupe all are promoted to League B and keep their Gold Cup hopes alive. Barbados won the group by beating the Cayman Islands 3-0 at home Tuesday night. The Cayman Islands came into the match only needing a draw to win the group over Barbados, but their loss means they will remain in Group C.
Guatemala and Guadeloupe made easy work of their groups, going undefeated to ensure promotion to League B. The final League C standings:
So, what does this all mean? The teams that qualified for the Gold Cup are: Canada, Honduras, Grenada, Jamaica, USA, Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Martinique, Suriname, and Panama. French Guiana, Montserrat, Guyana, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will be drawn against Barbados, Bahamas, Guatemala, and Guadeloupe for the first knockout round of Gold Cup qualification in March 2020. The winners of those two-legged series will be drawn against Cuba, Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago, and Haiti for another 2-legged series in June 2020. The 4 winners will be the final teams to qualify for the 2021 Gold Cup.
When the 2021-2022 Nations League begins, here are the teams that will comprise each league:
League A - Canada, Costa Rica, Curaçao, El Salvador, Grenada, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Suriname, United States
League B - Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cuba, Dominican Repulibc, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago
League C - Anguilla, Aruba, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, Turks and Caicos Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands
Hit the comments to let us know which results were the most surprising to you and how this whole Nations League shook out.