Group D play at the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup concludes as Honduras takes on Qatar. Honduras has won its first two games and clinched qualification to the knockout round. Los Catrachos came from behind against Panama for a crucial 3-2 win.
Qatar blew out Grenada 4-0 and easily could have scored more goals. With a draw or win vs Honduras, Qatar would become the first non-CONCACAF team to appear in a Gold Cup knockout stage since Colombia and South Africa did in 2005. We’re expecting a close game as the current soccer betting odds are Honduras +140, Qatar +200, Draw +225.
Game: Honduras vs Qatar
Location: BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
Time: July 20, 9 p.m. ET
Head to Head
Qatar and Honduras have never met. However, Honduras did have a 2017 playoff against fellow AFC team Australia to qualify for the World Cup. Over two legs, Honduras lost 3-1. Honduras is also 0-1-1 vs non-CONCACAF opponents in 2021. Qatar is undefeated in nine 2021 matches and is 2-0-1 vs CONCACAF competition.
Golden Opportunity for Honduras
Honduras has an opportunity to win its Gold Cup group for the first time since 2013. Los Catrachos have never won all three group games and could make history by beating Qatar.
The last match, Honduras was engaged in a battle with a tough Panama side. Honduras forward Romell Quioto opened the scoring with a composed right-footed finish in the 22nd minute. Minutes later, he had a chance to double his tally but Luis Mejia made a good save.
Honduras captain and all-time caps leader Maynor Figueroa handballed the ball in the box, leading to a Panama penalty. Eric Davis converted it in the 32nd minute to level the scoreline. In first-half stoppage time, Panama took a 2-1 lead, as Cesar Yanis tapped in a cross for his first international goal.
In the 60th minute, Alexander Lopez tied the game at two with a first-time finish. Panama botched a cross and the ball fell right to Lopez’s feet. Quioto flashed his speed and finishing ability with his excellent 65th-minute winner. Honduras center back Kevin Alvarez displayed excellent vision and passing ability to find Quioto over the top. Quioto outran two Honduras defenders and slotted the ball home.
Panama outshot Honduras and had more possession but it didn’t matter. Honduras found a way to win and is well within reach of finishing first in group D. With seven goals through two matches Honduras trails just the US and Canada for most goals in the tournament.
Result Imperative for Qatar
While it is certainly possible Qatar goes through no matter the scoreline, a result would remove all doubt. Panama can go level on points with Qatar with a win and Qatar loss. The first tiebreaker would be goal differential followed by goals scored. In the opener, Panama and Qatar played to a thrilling 3-3 draw so head to head is irrelevant.
Currently, Qatar is a +4 with seven goals scored while Panama is a -1 with five goals scored. That could easily change as Panama faces a Grenada team who has lost 4-0 in consecutive matches.
Qatar scored three first-half goals vs Grenada and added a fourth early in the second half. Akram Afif and Almoez Ali have scored in each of Qatar’s matches so far but Ali missed an absolute sitter prior to his second-half goal. Despite scoring four goals, Qatar was profligate and could have improved its position with more goals.
Qatar will know that it likely needs a win or draw to go through. It’s easy to question Honduras’s motivation entering the match with a knockout stage berth secure. However, Honduras doesn’t strike me as the type of team to take its foot off the gas and only has two players on yellow cards. So, there’s not much need to rotate.
When Quioto scored the winner in Houston vs Panama the number of Honduras fans behind the goal made it seem like a home game. Expect Houston to once again feel like home for Honduras but for it to be difficult to beat a Qatar team that is undefeated in 2021.
A draw gets both teams where they need to be and I think it’s a wise bet in this match.