Gold Cup 2013 Predictions: Projections for Every Country
The CONCACAF Gold Cup is set to start on July 7, with Canada facing Martinique and Mexico taking on Panama on the first match day.
This international tournament pits 12 of CONCACAF's elite soccer nations against one another over the course of July.
It is a fascinating watch and offers drama and renewed rivalries.
Here are the predictions for how the tournament will play out.
Group A: Canada, Martinique, Mexico, Panama
Mexico are the clear top dog in Group A of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
They should face a stiff test against a talented Panama side, though.
Canada, sporting a roster littered with younger players, is a wildcard here as well. They, too, have a puncher's chance to challenge the Mexicans.
As for Martinique, it is likely to be a long tournament for the tiny and inexperienced Caribbean nation.
Group B: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago
Honduras are the most talented side in Group B of CONCACAF's Gold Cup.
They should cruise through what is arguably the weakest group in the tournament.
El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago are the likely contenders for second place in Group B.
Each team will expect to bag three points against an underwhelming Haiti side.
Trinidad and Tobago
Group C: Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, United States
The United States should continue their fine run of form of late and dominate Group C of CONCACAF's Gold Cup.
Costa Rica will provide the biggest threat to the Americans in a rematch of their recent World Cup qualifier in blizzard conditions.
Belize and Cuba will battle it out for third place in Group C.
The first CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal match pits the second-place team of Group A against the second-place team of Group B. Based on the previous predictions this will likely be Panama and El Salvador.
The second CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal match sees the winner of Group A face the best third-place team between the two other groups. Based on the aforementioned predictions, the likely candidates here will be Mexico from Group A and Trinidad and Tobago from Group B.
The third CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal match is reserved for the winner of Group B and the second-place finisher of Group C, likely Honduras from the former and Costa Rica from the latter.
The fourth CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal match pits the winner of Group C against the best third-place team of Group A and Group B, most likely the U.S. and Canada.
Panama vs. El Salvador
Mexico vs. Trinidad and Tobago
Honduras vs. Costa Rica
U.S. vs. Canada
This first CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal match will be between the winners of the predicted Panama vs. El Salvador match (Group A second place, vs. Group B second place) against the winner of the predicted Mexico vs. Trinidad and Tobago match (Group A winner vs. best third place Group B or Group C team).
The second CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal match will be between the winners of the predicted Honduras vs. Costa Rica match (Group B winner vs. Group C second place) and the winner of the predicted U.S. vs. Canada match (Group C winner vs. best third place Group A or Group B team).
Panama vs. Mexico
U.S. vs. Honduras
The CONCACAF Gold Cup final pits the winners of each semifinal against one another.
Based on the previous predictions, the U.S. and Mexico will nab the two spots in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final and continue to reign supreme atop the North American, Central American and Caribbean World Cup qualifying region.
U.S. vs. Mexico
In a rematch of the last CONCACAF Gold Cup final in 2011—a 4-2 victory for Mexico in which the Yanks were up 2-0—the U.S. will squeak by 2-1 with a game-winning goal from longtime Mexico foil Landon Donovan.
Regardless of how it all shakes out, the Gold Cup is a phenomenal time for a CONCACAF nation. The tournament will undoubtedly provide dramatic moments and high-quality soccer from start to finish.