The 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup continued on Friday with the last two fixtures in Group A featuring Costa Rica taking on French Guiana and Canada challenging Honduras.
Canada and Costa Rica entered play tied atop the group standings with four points, though Canada held the top spot by virtue of having a goal differential of plus-two.
Costa Rica had a golden opportunity to move ahead of the Canadian team because French Guiana entered Friday with an 0-2 record in group play and had the worst goal differential (minus-five) of any team in this year's Gold Cup.
Here are the results from Friday's action at Toyota Stadium:
Costa Rica def. French Guiana, 3-0
Canada tied Honduras, 0-0
It was a good news-bad news night for Canada in its 0-0 tie with Honduras in the final Group A match.
The good news is Canada made it through group play unbeaten with one win and two draws, and it knew after French Guiana's defeat earlier in the night it had made it into the knockout phase.
The bad news is the Canadians were unable to make up the two goals it needed in order to take the top spot in Group A. Costa Rica stole the group win with its victory over French Guiana.
Honduras improved its chances of securing a spot in the knockout phase, though only the top two third-place teams will move on, so it will be waiting on the weekend results to find out its fate.
Alberth Elis nearly gave the Honduras squad a lead late in the first half on this attempt:
Major League Soccer @MLS
HT: La Pantera nearly puts #HON up before the break, but it's still scoreless. #CANvHON: https://t.co/RD18rqs86M https://t.co/1WAZghvBIh2017-7-15 02:56:36
Although the end result wasn't what it wanted, Canada will take it because it will move on to the quarterfinals. It hadn't reached the knockout phase at the Gold Cup since 2009.
Regardless of the whether it moves on to the quarterfinals, Honduras has bounced back nicely after going winless in group play two years ago.
Costa Rica 3, French Guiana 0
Costa Rica was able to accomplish two things with its 3-0 victory over French Guiana on Friday night. The most important accomplishment was qualifying for the knockout stage with a 2-1-0 record in group play.
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Costa Rica becomes the first team to qualify for the knockout stage. French Guiana is eliminated. #GoldCup2017 https://t.co/rPmeMU6DHe2017-7-15 01:28:08
Secondly, thanks to its three-goal margin of victory, Costa Rica was able to take over the top spot in Group A from Canada.
Ariel Rodriguez immediately got things started for the Costa Rican squad, firing a shot off a corner kick past French Guiana goalkeeper Donovan Leon for a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.
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Goals don't get much easier than this! Costa Rica lead 1-0 early. @ModeloUSA #ModeloSoccer #GoldCup2017 #CRCvGUF https://t.co/KigaNmMIA82017-7-14 23:44:33
Things would remain tense for most of the match, as neither team was able to break through against the other's defense. Costa Rica would cling to a one-goal lead until the 79th minute when Rodney Wallace beat Leon with an assist from Marco Urena.
David Ramirez added the exclamation point for Costa Rica four minutes later.
This year's tournament has already been a big improvement for Costa Rica compared to its previous Gold Cup appearance in 2015. That group did make it out of group play thanks to three draws, and its two wins represent its best showing in the group phase since 2013.