The Gold Cup 2021 is ready to begin as the Preliminary rounds are over and the zones for the Group Stage are set. Sixteen teams will begin the battle for the Concacaf's ultimate prize this weekend in a thrilling round of the tournament.
The three remaining group stage spots were filled after a three-day series of Prelims played at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, United States. The following round of the tournament will see four different groups of four teams each to decide who moves onto the quarterfinals.
The first two of each zone will progress in the tournament to keep on fighting for the regional trophy. Group Stage action will begin on July 10 and will run until July 20. Here, take a look at each of these groups.
- El Salvador
- Trinidad and Tobago
The reigning champions of the tournament top Zone A of the Concacaf Gold Cup 2021 hoping to make their way to a back-to-back title. Mexico are the favorites to win the trophy once again and are expected to begin strongly by dominating in their group.
El Salvador, Guatemala, and Trinidad and Tobago, however, could make things complicated for El Tri, but more importantly, they'll probably unleash a fierce competition between them for a quarter-final spot.
Curaçao were originally in this group, but they were ruled out of the tournament due to a Covid outbreak in their squad. Therefore, Concacaf decided that Guatemala will replace them.
Despite the USMNT will not show up with its A-team for the 2021 Gold Cup, there will be high expectations for Gregg Berhalter's boys, especially to finish the group stage comfortably. Meanwhile, Canada are full of hope ahead of this tournament with Alphonso Davies leading their squad. Martinique, who will play their third-straight Gold Cup, and Haiti, who started their journey in the Prelims, seem to be the underdogs in this zone.
- Costa Rica
One of the Concacaf giants, Costa Rica will be looking to improve their last edition's result when they were knocked out in the quarterfinals. The three-time Concacaf Cup winners have not won the Gold Cup yet and they hope to do so this year. Jamaica are the other big team in this group and will be hoping to pick up from where they left off in 2019 when they finished fourth.
Suriname have made their way to the Gold Cup main draw for the first time and they'll try to make a good impression in their first group stage appearance. Guadeloupe have advanced to the tournament's group phase for the fifth time in history after ten years without doing so thanks to their strong run in the Prelims.
Honduras will try to bounce back after a disappointing performance in the previous Gold Cup and they arrive at this tournament full of hope, with a more experienced squad to fight for a better finish than in 2019. Panama, meanwhile, want to build from last years' performances in their ninth-straight appearance.
Grenada will have a tough challenge against strong opponents in their return to the Gold Cup after ten years. The invited guest Qatar could make things difficult for their group rivals and have the chance of impressing in their first Gold Cup participation.