Forget about the CONCACAF Nations League. It’s time for the 2023 Gold Cup, the best tournament in which teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean fight for the title. As expected, Team USA comes in as the betting online favorites to win it, again, but it won’t be easy since even the luxury guest can put up a good fight, just as it did in the 2021 edition.
Gold Cup at a Glance
The 2023 edition of the Gold Cup is scheduled to take place from June 24 to July 16. This time, we’ll have two hosts: Canada and the United States. A total of 15 venues will be involved, with the Grand finale taking place at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. On the other hand, all matches scheduled to take place in Canada will be in Toronto at BMO Field.
A total of 16 teams will compete for the gold, with Qatar being the only one that’s not a member of CONCACAF. In 2021, the Maroons reached the semifinals. Plus, Almoez Ali finished as the tournament’s top scorer with four goals.
Nicaragua was going to be one of the 16 teams, but CONCACAF kicked them out for fielding an ineligible player in eight matches, including the Nations League. Trinidad and Tobago will take Nicaragua’s place. The list also includes: USA, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Cuba, Guatemala and Qatar. Three more teams will qualify through a previous round.
This will be the 17th edition of the Gold Cup. So far, the Americans and Mexico have dominated. Since 1991, either Team USA or Mexico have won the title, except in 2000 when Canada pulled off the stunner.
Plus, the last two finals have been between USA and Mexico. Mexico won 1-0 in 2019 while USA won 1-0 in 2021.
2023 CONCACAF Nations League✅
2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup✅
2021 CONCACAF Nations League✅
This CONCACAF thing is getting to easy, should the US consider a move to CONMEBOL? pic.twitter.com/pXU7831B5y
— 6ers 🚀🔰#BerhalterOUT (@06ers) June 19, 2023
How the Tournament Works
The 16 teams are divided into four groups of four teams, with the top two advancing to the Round of 8. That will be followed by the semifinals and the final. That’s right, it’s a short tournament. The good news is that it gives all Gold Cup betting enthusiasts almost an extra month of action.
If two teams finish the group stage tied on points, goal difference in all group matches would be the first tiebreaker. Next, it would be the numbers of goals scored in all group matches. If needed, which is highly unlikely, the third tiebreaker would be points obtained in the matches played between the teams in question.
In the knockout rounds, if a match ends with a draw, extra time is played (30 minutes). If the draw prevails, the winner is decided by a penalty shootout.
Favorites & Dark Horses
Right now, there’s no doubt that Team USA is the best team in CONCACAF. The Stars and Stripes recently won the Nations League by defeating Mexico 3-0 in the semifinals and Canada 2-0 in the Grand Finale. As if that wasn’t enough, they come in as defending champions.
Mexico and Canada are right behind USA. Mexico has one huge advantage, though. Several of the players that play in Europe will be present at the tournament. That’s not the case for Team USA or Canada since the Gold Cup isn’t included in FIFA’s official schedule.
Canada announce squad for 2023 Concacaf @GoldCup 🍁
Canada will open the tournament on Tuesday, June 27th in Toronto against the winner of a Guadeloupe-Guyana Preliminary Round match.
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) June 19, 2023
Anyway, Mexico and Canada are highly favored in the Gold Cup lines to win Group B and Group D. Especially the Reds, since their toughest opponent will be Guatemala.
If you were looking for an underdog to include in your Gold Cup picks, make sure to keep an eye on Panama. They recently won their Nations League group, eliminating Costa Rica. Speaking of Costa Rica, Los Ticos are going through a rough patch, and goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who’s considered their best player, won’t be available due to injury.
Finally, we have Qatar. The Maroons will play without any pressure. Plus, they’re eager to turn things around after failing in the 2022 World Cup despite being the hosts.
Individually, Santiago Gimenez from Mexico is the favorite in the Gold Cup odds to win the Golden Boot. He plays for Feyenoord in the Eredivisie, but rumor has it that Villarreal (La Liga) wants him. There’s also Jesus Ferreira, who will be leading Team USA’s attacking unit. Ferreira has scored eight goals in 18 games with the U.S. team. Plus, he has scored 10 goals in the current MLS season.