The 2023 Gold Cup opens this weekend, and Group B is a group that has a North American power that isn’t much of a lock. Mexico is the headliner of Group B, but after an abysmal performance against the USMNT a week ago in the Concacaf Nations League Finals, the rest of the field, which includes Honduras, Haiti, and guest Qatar, has a chance to move on to the next round.
Saturday, June 25
Haiti v. Qatar
Mexico v. Honduras
Thursday, June 29
Qatar v. Honduras
Haiti v. Mexico
Sunday, July 2
Mexico v. Qatar
Honduras v. Haiti
Haiti is back for its 9th Gold Cup appearance with a mix of experienced players and a new coach, Gabriel Calderon Pellegrino. Although they didn’t advance from the group stage in the 2021 tournament, which included an impressive 1-0 loss to the USA, they are determined to improve this year. Despite falling short of their goals in the previous tournament, Haiti is gathering momentum and hoping to compete with some of the top teams in the region.
FIFA Rank/Elo Rating: 87/71
Recent Record: Les Grenadiers are on a hot streak, going 5-0-1 in CONCACAF Nations League play, averaging almost four goals a game during the run dating back to June 2022.
Odd of winning group: In the running.
Players to watch: Forwards Duckens Nazon and Franztdy Pierrot are the only Haitian players with over two goals in Gold Cup history. Nazon has seven goals and 12 appearances, while Pierrot has six goals. Derrick Etienne Jr. is two games behind them.
Fans of El Tri are going through it right now. After winning the CONCACAF Nations League 3rd-place game against Panama, a game Mexican fans boycotted, the Mexico Soccer Federation fired manager Diego Cocca. That’s not the worst of it. Players are upset about their roles during the Nations League, and some even threatened to boycott the Gold Cup. Interim head coach Jaime Lozano will have his hands full in attempts to win the nation’s 9th Gold Cup.
FIFA Rank/Elo Rating: 15/28
Recent Record: Mexico struggled with subpar performances during the CONCACAF Nations League play, going 3W-1L-2D. El Tri tied with Jamaica twice and, of course, the infamous 3-0 loss to rivals USA.
Odds of winning group: Somehow, still favorites
Players to watch: Santiago Gimenez and Julisn Araujo are poised to debut at the Gold Cup. Juliana Araujo will join FC Barcelona’s first team after the tournament.
Honduras is one of three Central American teams to reach the Gold Cup Final, accomplishing the feat in the inaugural Gold Cup in 1991. However, the key players who led the nation to three consecutive semifinal appearances will not be present. Head coach Diego Vazquez is searching for a new generation of players to help them return to the podium.
FIFA Rank/Elo Ratings: 80/90
Recent Record: Honduras is 2W-3L-1D in their last six friendly matches. Their most recent loss was a 4-1 spanking from Canada.
Odds of winning group: Dark Horse
Players to watch: Alberth Elis, the leading scorer of the Concacaf Nations League and a star attacker, is fit and included in the Honduras squad. Veteran forward Jerry Bengtson provides experience, entering the tournament with four Gold Cup goals.
Qatar is back in the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup after appearing in the 2021 Gold Cup as invited guests. In 2021, they made it to the semifinals but lost to the United States. Since then, they’ve been trending downward. Qatar hosted the World Cup but performed poorly, finishing as the worst team in the tournament. Qatar has yet to prove they can compete on the big stage, but hopes to use this opportunity to demonstrate their ability to compete against larger nations and teams in the future.
FIFA Rank/Elo Rating: 61/71
Recent record: In their last two friendly matches since the World Cup, Qatar holds a simple 1W-1L-0D record. They defeated Jamaica 2-1 and tied Croatia. Since 2022 though, Qatar has had four wins against CONCACAF teams.
Odds of winning: In the running
Players to watch: Almoez Ali and Akram Afif are back on the team after their impressive performance at the 2021 Gold Cup. Ali scored four goals, while Afif scored twice.
Who will advance from Group B? What matches are most interesting to you? Let us know in the comments.