Gold Cup 2013: Countries That Most Need a Win in Next Match

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2013

PASADENA, CA - JULY 07:  Carlos Pena #6 of Mexico controls the ball against Juan Perez #14 of Panama during the first round of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup at the Rose Bowl on July 7, 2013 in Pasadena, California. Panama won 2-1.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

There isn't a more crucial match in the group stage of an international tournament than the second one.

At this point in the 2013 Gold Cup, you've still got teams fighting for the top two spots in the group. They haven't secured themselves enough to rest players for the knockout stage. They go into the match looking to win.

Conversely, for the teams that didn't pick up a win in their first match, doing the same in their second match is almost fatal to their chances of advancing.

Here are four countries who will need to win their next match in order to ensure their survival in the Gold Cup.



What a surprise. Jose Manuel de la Torre picks different players, and Mexico are still a mess on the pitch.

In the 2-1 loss against Panama, El Tri looked unimaginative and lacked any sort of cohesion. There weren't any leaders on the field or on the sideline, either. De la Torre has let Mexico spiral out of control.

It will be hard to find any supporters who have any sort of faith in de la Torre guiding Mexico to a deep run at the 2014 World Cup. He's a marked man, and the vitriol will just continue should Mexico drop more points against Canada.

The Canadians looked abject against Martinique, and there's no way El Tri should walk out of this match with anything less than three points.



Speaking of Martinique, their match against Panama will be their best chance of getting more points in the group stage. They face Mexico in their final match, so it will be very hard for Martinique to get even a point from El Tri.

They did look the better team in their match with Canada, but that's not saying all that much. That game was a war of attrition. Martinique will need to play much better in the group stage if they want a chance to reach the next round.

A win against Panama would put Martinique top of the table and almost ensure that they're through to the knockout stage. That would be a huge accomplishment for a team not even recognized by FIFA.


El Salvador

El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago played to what was a thrilling 2-2 draw. Getting that point was key for El Salvador.

Losing the first match doesn't doom you to elimination, but you get awfully close. Luckily for Agustin Castillo, his team was able to get the draw and almost won the match late.

El Salvador still have some work to do, but having that point and keeping their opponent at one point makes things a lot easier.

Should El Salvador get nothing from their match against Honduras, though, they could be in trouble. Trinidad and Tobago will likely beat Haiti, so El Salvador will need to try to keep pace.


Costa Rica

The battle in Group C appears to be for the runner-up spot behind the United States. The U.S. looked downright dominant in their win over Belize and won't be stopping there. They learned from the upsets earlier in the tournament.

Luckily for Costa Rica, they avoid the United States in their next match. Belize should be an easy opponent and three points in the bag.

Costa Rica need those three points because they won't want to go up against the United States with their tournament livelihood on the line. Beating the U.S. won't be impossible, but it's the kind of match where you don't want to be in a must-win situation.

By beating Belize, Costa Rica can ensure the lowest they'll finish is second.