The 2021 Gold Cup will be taking place in the United States from July 10th to August 1st. The 16th edition of the CONCACAF tournament features 16 teams which will play in nine different host cities. Mexico enters the event as the defending champions and for the very first time, VAR (video assistant referee system) will be used in the contests. 

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The host cities are Orlando (Florida); Glendale (Arizona); Kansas City, (Kansas); Arlington, Frisco, Dallas, Houston and Austin (all Texas) and Paradise, Nevada with the final being held in Paradise on Aug, 1, 2021.

Group A consists of Mexico, El Salvador, Curaçao and Trinidad and Tobago. Group B is made up of United States, Canada, Martinique and Haiti while Group C features Costa Rica, Jamaica, Suriname and Guadeloupe. Group D will see Honduras, Panama, Grenada and Qatar battle it out. Each nation can submit a roster of 23 players with three of them having to be goalkeepers.

Each of the four teams in a group will play a round-robin style schedule against the three other sides in their group. The winner of a game receives three points while each team gets a point for a draw and zero points for a defeat. The top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout stages of the tournament. 

In the case of a tie after the round-robin section, the format used to break the tie will be goal difference, followed by goals scored, head-to-head results, head-to-head goal difference, head-to-head goals scored and finally, fair play points. When it comes to fair play points, yellow and red cards are taken into consideration. If the teams are still deadlocked after the tie-breaking procedures the drawing of lots will decide who advances.

If a game ends in a draw after 90 minutes during the knockout stage, there will be 30 minutes of extra time played to decide a winner. If the match is still level it will be decided by a penalty shootout. 

The Gold Cup was born in 1963 when it was known as the CONCACAF championships until 1989. it was then re-branded as the Gold Cup in 1991.

Of this year’s participants, Mexico has been the most successful nation with 11 titles to their name while finishing as runners-up twice. The United States has won the event and finished as runners-up on six occasions each while has captured the crown three times and finished as runners-up once. Canada has won two championships while Honduras and Haiti have each hoisted the trophy once and finished as runners-up twice. The only other nation to have won a Gold cup has been Guatemala, however they aren’t playing in this year’s tournament. 

Group A Overview and Bet365 odds to win the tournament

Mexico
Mexico has won this tournament more than any other nation but manager Tata Martino elected not to call up the team’s all-time leading scorer Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez for this year’s event and Carlos Vela was also left off the squad. Therefore, players such as Alan Pulido, Efrain Alvarez and Jonathan dos Santos need to be at their best along with the likes of Edson Alvarez, Carlos Salcedo and Jesus Corona.

El Salvador

El Salvador has gone 5-1 in World Cup qualifying games this year but is just 1-1-1 in their last three contests overall. They’ll be relying on David Rugamas and Darwin Ceren to lead the way

Curaçao

Curaçao is regarded as a developing soccer nation with some formidable players such as attackers Rangelo Janga and Leandro Bacuna. 

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago qualified for the tournament by winning both Gold Cup Preliminary matches as they thumped Montserrat 6-1 and edged French Guiana 8-7 in a lengthy penalty shootout. The nation has never lifted the Gold Cup but came in as runners-up in 1973. The team will be relying on star players Marcus Joseph and Kevin Molino. 

Group B overview and Bet365 odds to win the tournament

United States

Manager Gregg Berhalter is experimenting with lineup chemistry in this tournament with most of the roster coming from MLS. Key players could be defenders James Sands, Walker Zimmerman and Sam Vines along with midfielders Cristian Roldan, Eryck Williamson and Gianluca Busio. The attack will be led by the likes of Daryl Dike, Jonathan Lewis and Gyasi Zardes.   

Canada 

Youngster Alphonso Davies of Bayern Munich is an emerging star and he’ll get support from the likes of Jonathan Osorio, Ayao Akinola and Lucas Cavallini while Maxime Crepeau is solid in goal. 

Martinique

Martinique hasn’t played a game in 2021 as of yet but has some solid players on the roster such as 

Daniel Hérelle, and Stéphane Abaul and Karl Vitulun.

Haiti

There’s currently political unrest in Haiti but the team is still set to play the tournament. They’ve gone 5-2 so far in 2021 with both defeats coming to Canada. The attack is led by Frantzdy Pierrot and Duckens Nazon and the squad is relatively experienced. 

Group C overview and Bet365 odds to win the tournament

Costa Rica

Costa Rica made it to the Gold Cup Final in 2002 and have reached the semifinals twice since. They’re one of the stronger teams in the tournament with the likes of Bryan Ruiz, Johan Venegas, Allan Cruz, Ariel Lassiter, Ronald Matarrita and Francisco Calvo on the roster. 

Jamaica

The Reggae Boyz will be competing in the Gold Cup once again after reaching the 2015 and 2017 Final and placing fourth in 2019. Their key players come from MLS such as goalkeeper Andre Blake along with Kemar Lawrence and Oniel Fisher. 

Suriname

This is Suriname’s inaugural Gold Cup appearance and the nation’s first CONCACAF tournament since back in 1985. The team qualified via the CONCACAF Nations League after topping their League B group. 

Guadeloupe

This is the first Gold Cup event for Guadeloupe since 2011 and their fourth ever. They qualified by beating the Bahamas 2-0 in the preliminary round and drawing downing Guatemala 10-9 in a penalty shootout after drawing them 1-1. The nation’s best Gold Cup showing came in 2007 when they reached the final four in their inaugural appearance.  

Group D overview and Bet365 odds to win the tournament

Qatar

Qatar was invited to the Gold Cup as the nation is preparing to host the 2022 World Cup. The roster consists of Qatar Stars League players with most of them hailing from league champions Al Sadd SC.

Honduras
Honduras failed to advance from the group stage in the 2019 Gold Cup but are regular participants in the tournament. The team will be depending on Alberth Elis, Bryan Acosta, Boniek Garcia and Romell Quioto and Maynor Figueroa to lead by example. 

Panama

This is the ninth consecutive Gold Cup for Panama and they finished as runners-up in 2005 and 2013, losing to the Americans both times. The team’s top player are Anibal Godoy, Andres Andrade, Gabriel Torres and Jose Calderon.

Grenada

This will be the third time in the Gold Cup for Grenada with the nation’s last appearance coming 10 years ago. The team has lost all six of their previous Gold Cup matches and managed to score just one goal in them.