2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A Preview and Predictions

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GROUP A

Canada

FIFA Ranking: 100th
Best Gold Cup Performance: Champions (2000)
Coach: Octavio Zambrano (Since 2017)

Canada is the only team outside of Mexico and the US ever to win a CONCACAF Gold Cup. This will be Head Coach Octavio Zambrano’s first major fixture with the Canadians. I would expect Canada to play more attack-minded in this tournament, possibly at the loss of their defense. Cyle Larin will not be joining the rest of his fellow Canadians after his DUI arrest, but even without one of their star players, Canada could still advance if they were able to drive up the margin against French Guiana.

Costa Rica

FIFA Ranking: 26th
Best Gold Cup Performance: Runner-Up (2002)
Coach: Óscar Ramírez (Since 2015)

In the ’07, ’09, ’11, and ’13 Gold Cups, Costa Rica won a grand total of zero games. Then, in 2014 everything changed as the Costa Ricans shocked the world, going undefeated against Uruguay, Italy, England, and Greece, before eventual third-place finishers; the Netherlands, beat Costa Rica on penalties in the quarterfinals. Ronald Matarrita, Bryan Ruiz, and Joel Campbell play on some of the top squads in Europe, and anything short of a Semis run would be dissapointing.

French Guiana

FIFA Ranking: N/a
Best Gold Cup Performance: N/a
Coach: Jaïr Karam (Since 2013)

French Guiana is not even a member of FIFA. Their manager is a PE teacher whose wikipedia page is two sentences long. Guiana’s roster is mainly made up of players from low-level French clubs, but they went on an incredible run to qualify for their first ever Gold Cup. Realistically speaking though, even one point would be a positive result.

Honduras

FIFA Ranking: 72nd
Best Gold Cup Performance: Runner-Up (1991)
Coach: Jorge Luis Pinto (Since 2014)

Group A is the only Group to have two squads that qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Honduras did make it to the World Cup, but just a year later in the 2015 Gold Cup, they didn’t win a game. The Catrachos won this year’s Copa Centroamericana. With a match up against either Jamaica or El Savador in the quarterfinals if they were to finish second, they could be the favorites for the last semifinal spot alongside Costa Rica, Mexico, and the US.

MATCH-BY-MATCH PREDICTIONS

July 7, 2017
8:00 PM
French Guiana  vs  Canada
 1 3
July 7, 2017
10:00 PM
Honduras  vs  Costa Rica
0   2

July 11, 2017
8:30 PM
Costa Rica  vs  Canada
 2  1
July 11, 2017
11:00 PM
Honduras  vs  French Guiana
 3 1

July 14, 2017
8:30 PM
Costa Rica  vs  French Guiana
  3 0
July 14, 2017
11:00 PM
Canada  vs  Honduras
0 1

PROJECTED FINAL TABLE

Pos Team W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Costa Rica 3 0 0 7 1 +6 9 Advance to knockout stage
2  Honduras 2 0 1 4 2 +2 6
3  Canada 1 0 2 4 3 +1 3 Possible knockout stage
4  French Guiana 0 0 3 0 0 -7 0  Eliminated

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