The last two groups to conclude in the CONCACAF Gold Cup do so on Tuesday evening on another packed night of action in the competition. At the end of the night we will know the identity of the quarter finals which come thick and fast at the weekend.
We already know who won and came second in Groups A and B and on Tuesday evening the four qualifiers and their orders from Groups C and D will be known. We already know Costa Rica, Jamaica and Honduras are through and we’ll find out who joins them.
Costa Rica vs Jamaica (00.00)
The first of the two groups to finish on Tuesday evening is Group C where the two powerhouses in the section will collide for top spot and the right to avoid USA in the quarter final when Costa Rica host Jamaica in Orlando.
Costa Rica have the advantage of having the draw on their side in the battle to win the group and that means Jamaica have to win for a third time in the section. They are more than capable of that but they are likely to have to battle against a stubborn Costa Rica defence in order to get the job done, and will need to keep the back door shut because scoring two against a deep defence won’t be easy. This isn’t an easy match to bet on and the fact the first two groups saw the matches with the top two in them end 1-0 doesn’t make it any easier. I’ll sit and watch this one I think.
Suriname vs Guadeloupe (00.00)
The other match in the group is a dead rubber in all but name but both Suriname and Guadeloupe might not know when their next chance to perform on this stage will come so both will be looking to finish off their campaign with a win.
Guadeloupe deserve a bit of credit. They have performed the best of the sides who came through the qualifying competition even though they haven’t won yet. They have scored in both matches which surely bodes well for them in their weakest game of the group. I’ve been disappointed with Suriname so far. I expected them to be much more competitive than they have been given the squad at their disposal so this is their last chance to show what they can do. Both teams will be eager to win here so I think that leads to goals. I attacked the Group B closer with much the same thinking and I see no reason to change here. Suriname do have goals in them against weaker foe while Guadeloupe have shown their worth in that regard. I like over 2.5 here.
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Honduras vs Qatar (02.00)
The big match of the night in Group D on Tuesday evening is the one in Houston where Honduras take on the invited team Qatar in a clash probably bigger for the Asian side than the Hondurans given that Honduras have already qualified.
Although Honduras have already qualified for the quarter finals there is an incentive for them to avoid defeat here and win the group because they would then avoid Mexico in the last eight. Although ‘El Tri’ haven’t been at their best yet in the tournament avoiding them is the shrewdest option. A draw might just suit Qatar as well because although they would run into Mexico in the quarter finals, they would be guaranteed to be there whereas defeat opens the door for Panama to pip them at the post. The draw looms too large on the horizon here so I don’t really want a piece of this one.
Panama vs Grenada (02.00)
The remaining match in the group phase of the competition sees a Panama side looking to win as big as possible and then hope that Qatar are beaten in the other match. Panama face a Grenada side who have looked well out of their depth so far.
Although Panama must win this match to have any chance of qualifying, they also have to overturn a five goal deficit on goal difference so they are likely to need to win this by at least four goals to have a hope of progressing. Grenada have lost their first two matches 4-0 and 4-0 so that is possible but the stumbling block for Panama could be the draw suiting both teams in the other match. If I knew that other game was going to be competitive then I might have taken Panama to win big here but the longer the other one stays goalless, or should Qatar even lead, the wind might exit the Panama balloon which isn’t ideal. If I had to I’d back Panama to cover the handicap but the best option is to sit this one out.
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