Hugo Balta

The 2021 Gold Cup begins today and while its painfully obvious the CONCACAF lacks the teams both the Euro’s and the Copa America have, some games may be worth your time before the Semifinals.

Here are our seven games to watch in the first round…

Mexico vs Trinidad & Tobago July 10th

Mexico was never going to bring their “A” squad to this competition with them having to share talent with the Olympic squad, however, this team is far from a “B” team. Their first match this tournament will be against a struggling T&T squad that struggled to qualify for the tournament. That being said, El Tri needs a statement win here to calm some of the questions left after a recent defeat to the USA.

USA vs Haiti July 11th

The USA did bring a “B” team to this competition with much of the squad that won the Nations League returning to their club teams. Their first match against Haiti will be a good way to see what the USA’s squad will bring to this tournament.

Qatar vs Panama July 13th

The host of the 2022 World Cup will have their first real test of the tournament against Panama.. Los Canaleros are a difficult team to beat in the area, and will be a good measuring bar to how Qatar will fare in this tournament. While going through a generation change Panama may not have the strongest team, but they will give the big teams in this tournament fits.

Mexico vs El Salvador July 18th

El Tri will have their first look at a resurgent El Salvador in its final game of gameplay. While Mexico should have the group won by this time, they should not take this squad lightly. El Salvador is coming off a campaign where they qualified to the 2022 World Cup qualifiers and will look to be an uncomfortable match up for El Tri.

USA vs Canada July 18th

This matchup will feature two of El Tri’s possible finals opponents with both squads in the top three favorites to challenge El Tri in the final. This matchup will also be a good measuring bar as to what these squads will bring to the tournament. While Canada are without Jonathan David, itt appears Alphonso Davies will be at the tournament, it will be interesting to see if any CONCACAF team will have an answer for the Bayern winger.

Costa Rica vs Jamaica July 20th

The Reggae Boyz have been in disarray for the better part of the past two years, however with a squad full of European and MLS talent, this may be the tournament they bring it all together. Costa Rica for their part will be without Keylor Navas, but new coach Luis Fernando Suarez has a young and talented squad that can give other teams fits.

Honduras vs Qatar July 20th

Maybe the biggest challenge for guest squad Qatar in the group stage will be their matchup against Honduras. La H will look to build on a 3rd place finish in the CONCACAF Nations League, where they gave eventual champions the USA fits. Qatar is the wild card in this tournament, and the reigning AFC champions will look to prove their 3-1 victory over Japan in that tournament was no fluke.

While not as intense or talent riddled as the Euro’s, this Gold Cup is lining up to be an exciting one, with interesting matchups, young talent, and European based players looking to make an impact.

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