This evening, Concacaf conducted the draw to determine the group stage for the 2021 Gold Cup, set to begin July 10, 2021 in the United States. The United States Men’s National Team learned the teams that they will face next summer in the group stage.
Before the draw, the 4 winners of the League A groups in Concacaf Nations League were pre-seeded into groups: Mexico in Group A, the USMNT in Group B, Costa Rica in Group C, and Honduras in Group D. Qatar, who is participating in the Gold Cup as an honorary invitee from Concacaf, was also pre-assigned out of Pot 4 to Group D with Honduras. Qatar, also scheduled to compete in next summer’s rescheduled Copa América, are the seventh nation to participate as a guest in the Gold Cup, after Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, South Africa, and South Korea.
First, Concacaf drew the teams that would be involved in the Gold Cup Prelims, which will take place July 2-6. Twelve teams—Haiti, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Guadeloupe, Bermuda, French Guiana, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Montserrat, and Bahamas—will compete to be one of the final 3 teams in the 16-team Gold Cup field. Those spots were in Pot 4 of the main Gold Cup draw.
The Gold Cup Prelims:
Match 1 - Haiti vs. St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Match 2 - Guatemala vs. Guyana
Match 3 - Trinidad and Tobago vs. Montserrat
Match 4 - Cuba vs. French Guiana
Match 5 - Guadeloupe vs. Bahamas
Match 6 - Bermuda vs. Barbados
The winner of Match 1 will face the winner of Match 6 in Prelim Match 7. The winner of Match 2 will face the Match 5 winner in Prelim Match 8, while the winners of Matches 3 and 4 will square off in Prelim Match 9. The winners of those matches advance to the Gold Cup.
The group stage for the 2021 Gold Cup (dates and venues TBD):
A - Mexico, El Salvador, Curaçao, Winner PM9 (T&T/Montserrat/Cuba/French Guiana)
B - USA, Canada, Martinique, Winner PM7 (Haiti/SVG/Bermuda/Barbados)
C - Costa Rica, Jamaica, Suriname, Winner PM8 (Guatemala/Guyana/Guadeloupe/Bahamas)
D - Honduras, Panama, Grenada, Qatar
Trinidad and Tobago was suspended by FIFA last week for “grave violations” of its statutes surrounding a court dispute over FIFA’s appointment of a normalization committee to run the federation, but was still included in the draw by Concacaf. Concacaf noted that if Trinidad and Tobago’s suspension was not lifted by December 18th, Antigua and Barbuda would replace them in the Gold Cup Prelims bracket.
For the USMNT, they have a decent draw with Canada and Martinique joining them in Group B. They last faced Canada in the Nations League last fall (a massive loss in Canada and a rebound win in Orlando), while they had a tough victory against Martinique in the 2017 Gold Cup group stage. They could also face a 3rd tough test should Haiti emerge from the Prelims, but St. Vincent, Bermuda, and Barbados will all want to play spoiler and join the USMNT, Canada, and Martinique in Group B.
Hit the comments to discuss the USMNT’s group as well as where the other ping pong balls bounced in the 2021 Gold Cup draw!