The Gold Cup is CONCACAF’s flagship competition. It launched in 1963 as the CONCACAF Championship and originally featured just nine teams in the finals. This actually dropped down to six for the next few editions, before expanding to eight, 10, 12, and now 16.
The Gold Cup is usually hosted by the United States, and this summer’s version is no different. Matches will be held in Kansas City, Houston, Austin, and Orlando, among other venues. It starts on July 10 with El Salvador vs Curacao and ends with the final at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise on August 1.
Sixteen teams are taking part in the competition, including CONCACAF heavyweights Mexico and the United States. Qatar have been invited as guests as the 2022 World Cup hosts continue their preparation for that competition. Suriname, Grenada, and Guadeloupe are among the outsiders hoping to make a splash.
The 16 sides will be split into four groups of four. The winners and runners-up will progress to the quarter-finals, while the third- and fourth-place finishers will be eliminated.
Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook July 12, 2021.
|Gold Cup 2021 Winner Odds||Odds|
Mexico are the favorites to win the Gold Cup 2021. They are the reigning champions and have named a reasonably strong squad, even if Javier Hernandez is not part of it. El Tri will be difficult to beat this summer.
The United States are second-favorites. Gregg Berhalter has given some time off to Europe-based stars like Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Tyler Adams, Sergino Dest and Weston McKennie. There is still quality in the squad, though, and the hosts will expect to go far.
Costa Rica could take advantage if either of the two heavyweights slip up. They will have to do without goalkeeper Keylor Navas, but the veteran duo of Celso Borges and Bryan Ruiz are still going strong.
Jamaica are the most attractive outsiders at +1800, even though they were unable to sign up England-based stars Michail Antonio and Ethan Pinnock in time for this competition. Qatar could also spring a surprise; they are the reigning Asian champions with some useful young players in their ranks.
Mexico were the winners of the Gold Cup in 2019, the most recent edition. El Tri won all three group games against Canada, Martinique and Cuba by an aggregate scoreline of 13-3. They needed penalties to get past Costa Rica in the quarter-finals, before beating Haiti 1-0 after extra time in the last four.
Mexico beat the United States 1-0 in the final thanks to a goal from Jonathan dos Santos. The United States reached the final by topping their group ahead of Panama, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago, then beating Curacao and Jamaica in the knockout stage.
|Country and Number of Wins||Most Recent Success|
|Mexico – 11||2019|
|United States – 6||2017|
|Costa Rica – 3||1989|
|Canada – 2||2000|
|Honduras – 1||1981|
|Haiti – 1||1973|
|Guatemala – 1||1967|
Mexico are the most successful nation in Gold Cup history. El Tri have won CONCACAF’s regional championship on no fewer than 11 occasions, and are the reigning champions going into this summer’s edition. Their first triumph was in 1965, the second-ever version of the competition.
The United States did not win the Gold Cup until 1991, just three years before the World Cup was hosted by the country. They have been the joint-most successful side in the 21st century, having lifted the trophy five times.
Five other countries have won the Gold Cup. Costa Rica have emerged victorious in three different tournaments, including in the inaugural edition of 1963. Canada triumphed in 1985 and 2000, while Honduras, Haiti, and Guatemala are all one-time winners.
The Gold Cup is held every two years. It did not take place in 1975 or 1995 but has been staged on a biennial basis throughout the 21st century, with an extra edition in 2003 as the tournament switched from even to odd years.
The Gold Cup is CONCACAF’s regional competition for national teams from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. This year’s tournament has also found space for Qatar, the hosts of the next World Cup.
Twelve teams, including the United States and Mexico, qualified directly via the 2019/20 CONCACAF Nations League. Haiti, Guadeloupe and Trinidad & Tobago booked their spots by winning one-off ties in the second round of Gold Cup qualification.
This tournament was known as the CONCACAF Championship until 1989 when it was rebranded as the Gold Cup. Unsurprisingly, a gold cup is a trophy available to the winners.
The victors of the Gold Cup become the champions of the CONCACAF region. It is not quite as prestigious as the World Cup qualification, but this is a prize that every nation wants to win.
US-based viewers can watch the Gold Cup on Fox Sports. Kick-off times (Eastern) are between 5 pm and 10 pm in the group stage. The United States takes on Haiti at 8.30 pm on Sunday.
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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