The first two groups of the CONCACAF Gold Cup conclude on Sunday night and at the end of the evening we will know how Groups A and B will end up. We already know three of the four sides who are into the knockout stages so there is one spot up for grabs.
USA, Canada and El Salvador have already qualified with the other place being between Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago to complete the quarter final line up from this section of the competition. That adds to the intrigue on the evening.
Martinique vs Haiti (22.00)
It is Group B which is the first one to conclude and one of the final matches sees the two eliminated sides battling it out when Martinique go up against Haiti with the intention of both pretty simple – to pick up a rare win at this level.
Martinique have offered enough in the tournament so far to suggest that they can be a threat at one end of the pitch but at the other end they have been little better than terrible. Haiti have also shown enough good form to suggest they can trouble the scorers but they too have been exposed defensively along the way as well. I expect both teams to have a go here and look to get something out of the tournament so over 2.5 goals looks like a bit of a no brainer to me.
USA vs Canada (22.00)
The second half of the last set of matches in Group B is the heavyweight clash in the group where the tournament hosts United States meet their near rivals Canada to sort out who wins the group and in theory picks up the easier quarter final draw.
Canada have the advantage heading into the last game as they have the draw on their side in the bid to hit top spot. USA have to win if they are going to win top the group and they will probably need to find a higher level if that is to happen even allowing for the fact that they scored six last time out. This is clearly the toughest test for both teams in the tournament to date and while you would expect the States to come through here, Canada have enough about them to be more than competitive in this one. I’d rather watch than bet on this one.
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Mexico vs El Salvador (03.00)
The second group to conclude is Group A where the heavyweight clash sees Mexico taking on El Salvador in a match which has plenty of pressure on it for Mexico as they know they need a point to make it through. El Salvador start out knowing they are already through and if they avoid defeat here they will top the group.
Mexico slipped up in their opening match against Trinidad and Tobago which means they have to get something from this to be certain of progressing. El Salvador have gone pretty routinely about their business so far and have the chance to really put a marker down in this match. If they can see off Mexico they would have nothing to fear for the rest of the tournament. There is a huge sense that the draw suits both about this match though and I never really like to be betting on those sorts of matches.
Guatemala vs Trinidad and Tobago (03.00)
The other match in the group sees the lucky losers Guatemala competing in the competition for the final time against a Trinidad and Tobago side who might yet have a role to play after this match if they can win the game and the other result goes their way.
The pressure is all on the Trinidad and Tobago outfit here. They don’t just need to win but they need to win pretty big to overturn a negative goal difference although even that will be rendered irrelevant should Mexico not lose the other match. I guess there is a good chance that Mexico move ahead in their match early on and the intensity and will in Trinidad subsides. I certainly can’t be betting on Guatemala here so this is another match which is pretty easy to leave alone.
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