2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group B Preview and Predictions

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GROUP B

Martinique

FIFA Ranking: N/A
Best Gold Cup Performance: Quarterfinals (2002)
Coach: Jean-Marc Civault (Since 2016)

Martinique is another side like French Guiana that is technically an overseas department of France, so they are not actually a member of FIFA. Group B is wide open though, and if Martinique can get three points from Nicaragua, they could advance as one of the two best third-placed teams.

Nicaragua

FIFA Ranking: 105th
Best Gold Cup Performance: Group Stage (2009)
Coach: Henry Duarte (Since 2014)

Nicaragua was the last team to qualify for the Gold Cup. They qualified via a playoff between the fifth-placed teams in the Carribean and Haiti. Nicaragua faced Haiti in that playoff, and won 4-3 on aggregate after Juan Barrera scored a hat trick in the second leg.

Panama

FIFA Ranking: 52nd
Best Gold Cup Performance: Runner-Up (2005, 2013)
Coach: Hernan Dario Gomez (Since 2014)

Panama always surprises, in the 2015 Gold Cup, they finished third, in 2013 they finished second. They could get a tough draw in the Quarterfinals with a possible match up against Costa Rica, but right now they sit fourth in hexagonal qualifying, and have impressively gone 0-3-0 against Mexico, Costa Rica and the USA.

USA

FIFA Ranking: 35th
Best Gold Cup Performance: Champions (1991, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2013)
Coach: Bruce Arena (Since 2017)

Some may say the US is bringing it’s “B Squad” to the group stage of this tournament, but the Stars and Stripes can always call up players before the knockout stage, and it’s important for the Americans to get rest, as Arena has turned the US around after a terrible start in the Hexagonal. The “B Squad” beat Ghana in a friendly last week, and they should win Group B.

MATCH-BY-MATCH PREDICTIONS

July 8, 2017
4:30 PM
United States  vs  Panama
  2 0
July 8, 2017
7:00 PM
Martinique  vs  Nicaragua
 1 1

July 12, 2017
6:30 PM
Panama  vs  Nicaragua
 2  1
July 12, 2017
8:30 PM
United States  vs  Martinique
  4 1

July 15, 2017
4:30 PM
Panama  vs  Martinique
 1 0
July 15, 2017
7:00 PM
Nicaragua  vs  United States
 2  3

PROJECTED FINAL TABLE

Pos Team W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  United States (H) 3 0 0 9 3 +6 9 Advance to knockout stage
2  Panama 2 0 1 3 3 0 6
3  Nicaragua 0 1 2 4 6 -2 1 Possible knockout stage
4  Martinique 0 1 2 2 6 -4 1

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