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2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup: Group C Preview

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We preview a group that could be more wide open than we realize.

Guatemala v Guadaloupe: Preliminaries Second Round - 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

Group C of the Gold Cup will be an interesting combination of teams that are playing with confidence and teams that need to get their groove back. Costa Rica and Jamaica are the two teams that theoretically will vie for the top spot in the group, while Suriname and Guadeloupe will look to shock some in the soccer world by pulling an upset or two in the group stage. We take a look at Group C to see which teams are poised to break through into the knockout stage and which players to keep an eye on.

Schedule

Sunday, July 12

Jamaica vs. Suriname

Costa Rica vs. Guadeloupe

Thursday, July 16

Guadeloupe vs. Jamaica

Suriname vs. Costa Rica

Sunday, July 20

Costa Rica vs. Jamaica

Suriname vs. Guadeloupe

Costa Rica

Costa Rica enters the Gold Cup looking to get back on track and continue preparations for World Cup qualifying when they enter the Octagonal in September. In this Gold Cup, however, they’ll be looking to improve on their play, which has not been up to their usual standards for quite a while. They’ve experienced some turnover, but they still have some players that can do damage in this group.

FIFA Rank/Elo Rating: 50/51

Recent Record: Simply put, the Ticos have been terrible lately. Their last win came during Nations League group play back in November 2019. Since then, they have 6 losses and 5 draws, including an exhibition loss last fall to Basque Country. They desperately need to get some confidence with a couple wins in the group stage.

Odds of Winning Group: In The Running

One to Watch: Monterrey forward Joel Campbell is their most experienced striker, and Costa Rica will be counting on him to produce in the group stage to carry them through.

Jamaica

Jamaica may not be the seeded team in this group, but they enter the Gold Cup as arguably the favorite to win the group. They’ve reached the Gold Cup final in 2015 and 2017, and their 2019 run took them to the semifinals, where they lost to the USMNT. They’ll be looking to push through and they have expectations of once again getting back to the final this year. They’ve also been recruiting many dual nationals in an effort to boost their player pool ahead of World Cup qualifying, and they’ll be looking to test some of them out in this tournament.

FIFA Rank/Elo Rating: 45/63

Recent Record: Their recent record isn’t great, but they’ve played some pretty tough opponents. Some of their recent opponents include Serbia (draw), Japan (loss), Saudi Arabia (loss and win), and the USMNT (loss). Jamaica still feels like they have more momentum as they start to put the pieces together.

Odds of Winning: Favorite

One to Watch: Bayer Leverkusen forward Leon Bailey is ready to break out at this Gold Cup. He’ll be one that Jamaica will look to see if he can provide the scoring and creativity from the wing.

Suriname

Suriname wants to put themselves on the map as a team that opponents don’t want to face as they enter this Gold Cup. They enter with a lot of confidence that they can hang with any team, and they have the capability to pull an upset in the group stage. While they missed out on qualifying for the Octagon, they’ll look to show that they are ready to make the leap into the top 10 teams in Concacaf.

FIFA Rank/Elo Rating: 136/126

Recent Record: In 2021, their 4 matches have come during the First Round of World Cup qualifying. They went 3-1, with their only loss coming to Canada on the final matchday.

Odds of Winning: Dark Horse

One to Watch: A guy that has scored basically every time he’s on the field is forward Gleofilo Vlijter. He already has 11 international goals in just 9 caps, so if he can get hot, Suriname can ride that wave and give Group C fits.

Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe qualified for the Gold Cup through the Prelims, which ended with them beating Guatemala after 12 rounds of penalty kicks. Because of that, they’re entering the Gold Cup with momentum, and they’ll want to see if they can keep it going early and surprise everyone with a trip to the knockout stage.

FIFA Rank/Elo Rating: NR/148

Recent Record: Their only two matches in 2021 have come in the past week, with both coming in the Gold Cup Prelims: a win over Bermuda and the aforementioned win on PKs to Guatemala.

Odds of Winning: One Can Dream

One to Watch: A confident goalkeeper can carry a team further than they have any business advancing. Yohann Thuram-Ulien, the cousin of former French legend Lilian Thuram, has a shootout win under his belt and he could help Guadeloupe stay in a couple of matches in this group.

Who will advance from Group C? What matches are most interesting to you? Let us know in the comment section.