The United States and Mexico are the two big favourites to seize glory at what promises to be another fascinating CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Mexico clinched the title in 2015—their seventh overall—with a win over Jamaica in the final and will be confident of retaining their crown.
However, with a new manager at the helm in Bruce Arena and home fans backing the team at every stadium, the U.S. men's national team are a danger.
Aside from the aforementioned duo, Costa Rica may feel they can muscle in and contend for the title, although all the other sides involved are big outsiders.
Below are the group-stage matches in full, the viewing details for the game and a look at what to expect from this year's edition of the CONCACAF showpiece.
July 7, French Guiana vs. Canada
July 7, Honduras vs. Costa Rica
July 11, Costa Rica vs. Canada
July 11, Honduras vs. French Guiana
July 14, French Guiana vs. Costa Rica
July 14, Honduras vs. Canada
July 8, United States vs. Panama
July 8, Martinique vs. Nicaragua
July 12, Panama vs. Nicaragua
July 12, United States vs. Martinique
July 15, Panama vs. Martinique
July 15, Nicaragua vs. United States
July 9, Curacao vs. Jamaica
July 9, Mexico vs. El Salvador
July 13, El Salvador vs. Curacao
July 13, Mexico vs. Jamaica
July 16, Jamaica vs. El Salvador
July 16, Curacao vs. Mexico
TV Info: Fox Sports (U.S.)
Live Stream: Fox Soccer 2GO (U.S.)
Mexico, United States Favourites for Glory
Given so many players who represent the two big names at this tournament ply their trade in Europe and are at the end of a long campaign, it's no surprise to see the United States and Mexico call upon a lot of footballers from their domestic divisions.
For the USMNT, it means Arena has not called up the likes of Christian Pulisic and Jonathan Brooks, with only a scattering of players from across the pond poised to be involved.
Mexico, whose strongest squad were only recently involved in the Confederations Cup in Russia, have made a similar decision. It means the likes of Jesus Corona and Orbelin Pineda are the only players at the Gold Cup who would potentially start in the nation's best XI.
As a result of the changes made, ESPN FC’s Tom Marshall doubted whether Mexico should be labelled as favourites on the cusp of the competition:
While some illustrious names may have been given the tournament off, El Tri always seem to find a way through to the latter stages of the Gold Cup. Team manager Juan Carlos Osorio will hope to see his side begin to build confidence in their opener against El Salvador on Sunday.
In a sense, the pressure is off Mexico, too, having won this title for three of the last four editions. The United States supporters, meanwhile, will be expecting a lot from Arena and his team. They have yet to lose a game under the guidance of the former Los Angeles Galaxy coach.
Still, Pulisic has been in inspiring form for a lot of the eight matches played under Arena, and as we can see courtesy of Squawka Football, his absence will leave a big void:
Without the Borussia Dortmund star, there are opportunities aplenty for others to shine for the United States, especially in the final third. And with a lot of youngsters in the squad, Arena has sought to play down its importance ahead of the big kick off.
"There's no actual significance for this championship," he said, per Peter Barzilai of USA Today. "But it's important to win your confederation championship, and we're certainly setting our sights on that."
Costa Rica are also missing a key man in goalkeeper Keylor Navas, while Deportivo La Coruna midfielder Celso Borges is also absent. However, they have an otherwise strong squad to call upon, with Bryan Oviedo, Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell all fine players at this level.
Elsewhere, little is being said about previous finalists Jamaica. As noted by Caribbean football journalist Nathan Carr, the team has had something of a facelift since that memorable run two years ago:
Panama have proved down the years they are a team who can dig in against elite opposition, while Honduras are also combative in their approach.
The winner will surely come from one of the big two, though. With momentum behind the team and the strongest squad in the competition to call upon, Arena will continue his impressive start as manager by guiding the USMNT to the title.