2007 Gold Cup Preview (That’s Soccer)
For those of you who are casual soccer fans, you might be a bit surprised to know that there is an entire international schedule beyond the World Cup that is held every 4 years. In fact, every summer you can find good tournaments and/or World Cup Qualifying scheduled.
This summer we get to watch the United States men’s team play in 2 major soccer tournaments, with the Gold Cup starting tonight and the Copa América starting shortly after the Gold Cup wraps up at the end of the month. No, these tournaments aren’t the World Cup, but there will be some entertaining soccer nonetheless.
What is the Gold Cup, you ask? In Europe, as you may know, the UEFA European Championships serve as the world’s second biggest international soccer tournament (the World Cup being the biggest, of course). The Gold Cup is the equivalent tournament for CONCACAF and includes teams from North America and the Caribbean. Lower-level teams qualified through regional tournaments, and the final 12 teams face off in the 2007 Gold Cup, which will be held in venues throughout the United States. In case you were curious, the Copa América I mentioned above is the South American equivalent of the Euro Championships and Gold Cup, but the South American soccer federation (CONMEBOL) invites 2 other nations to complete the field, which is why the United States & Mexico will travel to Venezuela for this year’s competition.
Why is the Gold Cup a big deal, you ask? Well, besides the glory that comes with being the top team in North America & the Caribbean heading into qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, the winning team also gets a trophy sharp enough to kill a man with. Can you stab someone with the Stanley Cup or Vince Lombardi Trophy? I think not.
Most importantly, however, the winner of the tournament will get a spot in the 2009 Confederations Cup.
What is the Confederations Cup, you ask? Every 4 years, the country hosting the next World Cup hosts the Confederations Cup, which is comprised of teams who won each of the regional championships in the preceding couple of years. So, a win for the United States in the Gold Cup would mean that they would get to travel to South Africa in 2009 to face quality teams such as Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Germany – whoever ends up winning their regional tournaments. That experience playing against top teams in venues that will host the World Cup would be excellent preparation for 2010.
Now, let’s move on to the details you need to know:
The 12 teams competing in the Gold Cup are:
Group A: Costa Rica, Haiti, Canada, Guadeloupe
Group B: United States, Trinidad & Tobago, Guatemala, El Salvador
Group C: Mexico, Panama, Honduras, Cuba
Group matches will be held at the Orange Bowl, Giants Stadium, the Home Depot Center, Reliant Stadium and Gillette Stadium. For a complete schedule, click here. All matches will be on TV somewhere, though the United States team’s matches will be the only ones in English. The top 2 teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals, along with the top 2 3rd place finishers. Eventually, a champion will be crowned at Soldier Field in Chicago on June 24th.
The U.S. has dominated CONCACAF the past few years, qualifying easily for the World Cup and winning the 2005 Gold Cup. They are the clear favorite this year. However, Mexico is always a threat, even though they typically lose 2-0 when playing the United States on American soil. Along with the United States, look for Trinidad & Tobago to advance from Group B. In Group A, Costa Rica should win easily, with Canada & Haiti battling it out for 2nd. Guadeloupe is just happy to be here. Group C should be taken by Mexico, with 2nd place going to Panama, the 2005 runner-up.
By this point, you either want to know how you can watch the Gold Cup, or you’ve just wasted a couple of minutes reading about something you have no interest in watching. All United States match-ups will be broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel. Look in your cable listings, you might be surprised that you have it if you have digital cable, Direct TV, or Dish Network. Below is the schedule of matches for the United States. If you don’t have Fox Soccer Channel, perhaps you have Telefutura, which gives you the added benefit of being educational (knowing un poco de Español never hurt anybody – unless you start learning insults about someone’s madre), plus you get to hear a man yell “GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL!” every time a GOL GOL GOL is scored. Or you can just look at the handy list of pubs that show the matches on Fox Soccer Channel. Either way you can’t lose.
|CONCACAF Gold Cup 2007 on Fox Soccer Channel|
|Thu.||Jun. 7||USA||Guatemala||9 p.m.|
|Sat.||Jun. 9||Trinidad & Tobago||USA||5 p.m.|
|Tue.||Jun. 12||USA||El Salvador||7 p.m.|
|Sat.||Jun. 16||TBA||TBA||4 p.m.*|
|Thu.||Jun. 21||TBA||TBA||7 p.m.*|
|Sun.||Jun. 24||TBA||TBA||3 p.m.|
|* Quarterfinal, semifinal times subject to change depending on U.S. team qualification.|
Provided everything goes according to plan and both teams win their groups, the Final in Chicago will see the United States face Mexico. My prediction? A 2-0 win for the United States. Like you expected me to pick otherwise.
Other Articles You Might Enjoy:
- Gold Cup Final Thread – United States vs. Mexico – And you thought last time was unfriendly
- U.S. vs. Mexico Recap
- Landon Donovan Mexican lottery commercial (video)
- Kid At Confederations Cup Puts Ice Cream All Over His Face: Video
- Video: Frankie Hejduk Slapped By Paco Ramirez After U.S. Slaps Mexico 2-0 In World Cup Qualifier