Gold Cup 2013: Biggest Takeaways From Wild Day 1 in Group A

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVJuly 8, 2013

The 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup got off to a thrilling start, as Group A's opening two matches proved to be unpredictable and jaw-dropping.

While the final eight teams in the running won't get underway with their matches until Monday and Tuesday, we already have one match in the books from each of the four teams in Group A.

The results brought with them some big surprises and suspenseful moments, with Martinique waiting until the very end of extra time to pull out a thrilling win over Canada. And Panama took down the defending champions in Mexico, who don't look like a team that is defending anything. 

Let's take a look at the biggest moments and takeaways from Day 1 of the Gold Cup. 


Martinique Came to Play

The small island country wasn't exactly one of the more talked-about squads heading into the Gold Cup, but it grabbed a firm hold on the first big moment of the tournament Sunday.

Locked in a 0-0 stalemate with Canada for the first 93 minutes of action in the Gold Cup opener, the two sides played a thrilling match, but neither could quite get on the scoreboard.

Martinique fired 27 shots with eight on goal, but it couldn't get past Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan. Meanwhile, Canada dominated possession with a 59-41 advantage, but it wasn't enough to break through and it ended up costing the team.

Fabrice Reuperne ripped a beautiful shot out of the box on a ball that laid up perfectly after a deflected corner kick. It ended up making for a moment that will be tough to beat for the rest of the tournament.

Canada came in as the only team besides the U.S. or Mexico to win a Gold Cup, but the team isn't exactly off to a high-flying start. Its journey to championship No. 2 could be over right as it's beginning.


Mexico Has Real Problems

It's no secret that Mexico hasn't had the ideal summer that it planned.

Coming in with a busy schedule of World Cup qualifiers, the Confederations Cup and Gold Cup, as well as many players embarking on summer tours with their clubs, it was expected that Mexico would find a way to excel in one of the three events.

Wold Cup qualifiers? It is third in points behind the USA and Costa Rica.

Confederations Cup? Bounced out in group stage. 

It seemed all of Mexico's hopes for a great summer hinged on the Gold Cup, surely the least important of the three tournaments. The least the team could do was win its second straight Gold Cup, giving its young players momentum to carry heading into future World Cup qualifiers. 

Instead, Mexico dropped its opener to Panama, 2-1, in a match that proved it is missing its top attackers in Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Giovani dos Santos.