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Only four teams remain in the 2021 Gold Cup.
Just a couple hours after Qatar and the United States take part in their knockout round match on Thursday, Mexico and Canada will close out the evening of the semifinals.
Despite their loss to the United States in the group stage, Canada are a dark horse of the competition that will be Mexico’s biggest test to date at the tournament.
With a convincing 2-0 quarterfinal win in hand, The Canucks will be a threat in midfield and attack.
That said, the suspension of a couple of their players could spell some doom in the semis.
Mexico will be an immense challenge, and although Canada have made it this far, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to keep pace with the tournament favorites for 90 minutes.
Especially when you consider that Mexico have yet to allow a goal in the Gold Cup.
|Mexico vs Canada Information|
|Teams||Mexico vs Canada|
|Location||NRG Stadium (Houston, Texas)|
|Time||Thursday, July 29th at 10:00 pm ET|
|How to Watch||FS1, Univision, TUDN|
Who has more momentum as they head into the semis?
Is it Mexico?
Without conceding a single goal in the current edition of the Gold Cup, it’s easy to look towards the regional giants that have claimed two of the last three championships.
Add in a striker like Rogelio Funes Mori — who has worked well in the frontline — and you have a squad that should be clinching a victory this Thursday.
But what about Canada?
They outplayed Costa Rica with a 2-0 win in the quarterfinals, and in the group stage, they were incredibly close to finishing ahead of the United States.
And yet, unfortunately, Canada won’t have all of their top options available.
Already held back by some injuries and absences before the start of the Gold Cup, The Canucks will now have even more players missing after their recent quarterfinal match.
While fans were thrilled to see Canada gain a spot in the next round, the result did still feel bittersweet thanks to some yellow card accumulation for two crucial players.
Captain Steven Vitoria and striker Lucas Cavallini, who both earned one yellow too many, will be suspended for this Thursday’s semifinal.
And despite the fact that Canada manager John Herdman stated last game that he was “…excited to see another man get an opportunity,” there’s no doubt that his roster won’t be as threatening.
While Vitoria’s leadership and presence will leave a sizable hole, there are no guarantees that a backup striker could do some damage against Mexico.
Keep in mind, Mexico have yet to allow a goal in the tournament as well.
Regardless of the fact that critics are able to nitpick what needs to be improved within Mexico’s roster, they have yet to allow a goal.
This streak goes beyond the Gold Cup as well.
In their last seven games in all competitions, Mexico have retained clean sheets.
Much of this is also thanks to goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera. When needed to step up, the veteran has had a stable presence in net.
Excellent in the air, the 38-year-old should once again stand tall against Canada.
And on the other end of the pitch, manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino will be able to rely on another vital figure.
Let’s dive into some quick stats.
Since making his national team debut earlier this month, Funes Mori has quickly provided four goals in just five appearances.
Were it not for some poor finishing from his teammates, the Monterrey striker would also have at least two to three assists.
Funes Mori is a game-changer for Mexico, and with an average of 4.8 shots per game in the Gold Cup, he’ll undoubtedly have at least a few chances on Thursday.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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