Group C of the 2023 Gold Cup has no North American powers but features the best two teams in Central America, Costa Rica and Panama. Another Central American team, El Salvador, will join the group, with Martinique representing the Caribbean. This group should have some very competitive talent spread across the group.
Monday, June 26
El Salvador vs. Martinique
Costa Rica vs. Panama
Friday, June 30
Martinique vs. Panama
El Salvador vs. Costa Rica
Tuesday, July 4
Costa Rica vs. Martinique
Panama vs. El Salvador
Costa Rica makes its 14th consecutive Gold Cup, still looking for its first title. However, they are going into the tournament on the wrong side of momentum. They were outscored 12-2 in group play during the World Cup, but in their defense, their group was brutal with Germany, Japan, and Spain. They have yet to recover, losing to Panama, Guatemala, and Ecuador in their last four games.
FIFA Rank/ Elo Rating: 39/45
Odds of winning the group: In the running
Recent record: Since the World Cup, Los Ticos are 1W-3L-0D.
Players to watch: Celso Borges is Costa Rica’s top scorer in the Gold Cup with five goals, including two from the 2021 edition. Anthony Contreras will debut in the tournament and scored his first senior goal against El Salvador during the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification.
Panama extends its streak of consecutive Gold Cups to 10 with their 2023 appearance. Panama has reached the championship game twice since 2005, losing to the USA on both consecutive times. Panama took a loss to Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League third-place game, but this team could be dangerous with their golden generation still a part of the squad.
FIFA Rank/ Elo Rating: 58/52
Odds of winning the group: Slight favorite
Recent Record: During the 2022 International window, Panama went 5W-6L-6L, the most significant victory that season coming against Canada during FIFA World Cup Qualifying round.
Player to watch: Alberto Quintero has played 22 matches and is close to surpassing Roman Torres, who has played 25 matches, for the third-most appearances for Panama in a Gold Cup.
The El Salvador men’s national team is set to participate in its 13th CONCACAF Gold Cup, maintaining a streak of nine consecutive appearances. Under the leadership of Head Coach Hugo Perez, who took over in 2021, the team has been performing well and has even advanced to the final stages of FIFA World Cup qualifying. The team will have a mix of experienced players and newcomers, including rising star goalkeeper Mario Gonzalez and veteran leaders Alex Roldan and Narciso Orellana.
FIFA Rank/ Elo Rating: 75/87
Odds of winning group: Dark Horse
Recent Record: El Salvador is still looking for their first win in 2023 yet, but they had a good performance in a 1-0 loss to the USA. In 2022, they finished 2W-6L-3D.
Players to watch: Four players, including Joaquin Rivas, are currently tied for second place with three goals each. Rivas performed remarkably well for El Salvador in the 2021 tournament, scoring three goals. This helped El Salvador win two group-stage matches for the first time in their history before losing 3-2 to Qatar in the quarterfinals.
Martinique has participated in several Gold Cups since their debut in 1993. They played in 2002, 2003, and 2013 before securing four consecutive berths in 2017, 2019, 2021, and 2023. Martinique has always been a formidable opponent, as demonstrated by their best performance in 2002 when they made it to the quarterfinals. However, they narrowly lost to Canada in a penalty shootout.
FIFA Ranking/Elo Rating: NA/78
Odds of winning the group: A scary long shot
Recent Record: Martinique has had a solid 2023 international season, currently 3W-1L-1D, with their only loss coming against Costa Rica.
Players to Watch: Martinique’s appearances in the Gold Cup are led by midfielder Daniel Herelle and forward Kevin Fortune. Fortune scored the 1,000th goal in the Gold Cup during a 2021 match against Haiti.
Who will advance from Group C? What matches are most interesting to you? Let us know in the comments.