The CONCACAF Gold Cup has reached the quarter-finals, and after an eventful group stage the eight teams still competing have been confirmed. USA and Mexico came through their groups as expected, although Mexico were ousted for top spot by Trinidad & Tobago. Jamaica impressed in winning group B, keeping two clean sheets in their three matches; and there is a surprise appearance for Cuba, who sneaked in the back door as one of the best third-placed finishers by virtue of a 1-0 win over Guatemala in the final game.
The Cubans were rewarded for their efforts with a quarter-final against tournament favourites USA, and that looks the most one-sided of the four ties. Mexico face a much tougher quarter against Costa Rica, who drew all three group games and started the competition as third favourites to lift the trophy. Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago both topped their groups, and have been handed ties against Haiti and Panama respectively.
USA v Cuba 22:00 (BST) Sat 18th July
USA – -800 with Coral
Cuba – +3300 with Betfair
Draw – +1200 with Betvictor
Cuba were thumped 6-0 by Mexico in the opening group game after part of their squad failed to make it into the country after issues with Visas. It looked like being even more of an uphill struggle after a 2-0 defeat to Trinidad & Tobago, but the late winner against Guatemala saw them progress as other results all went their way. They were the rank outsiders before the tournament, and a quarter-final appearance has already taken them beyond expectations.
USA beat Honduras 2-1 and followed that up with a 1-0 victory over Haiti. a 1-1 draw with Panama in the final game saw them top the group comfortably with 7 points. They were joint-favourites with Mexico prior to the tournament, and can be expected to win this, but there is little value in backing them.
Haiti v Jamaica 01:00 (BST) Sun 19th July
Haiti – +260 with Coral
Jamaica – +140 with Betvictor
Draw – +220 with Betfair
Jamaica look like a decent bet to get the better of Haiti, and they can continue to confound expectations. They kicked off with a 2-2 draw against Costa Rica, then showed off their defensive prowess with a couple of 1-0 wins over Canada and El Salvador. They also featured in the recent Copa America and have a battle-hardened squad which has been together for a prolonged period of time.
Haita drew 1-1 with Panama first time out, and then went down to a 1-0 defeat to USA. They looked to be on their way out of the tournament before a final match-up with Honduras, where a 1-0 win took them through in second place with 4 points. They took the lead in the 13th minute against Honduras holding out for victory, and the first goal in this match will probably be crucial. Jamaica have beaten Haiti in 4 of the last 5 meetings and are worth following to win here at a decent price.
Trinidad & Tobago v Panama 21:30 (BST) Sun 19th July
Panama – +163 with Bet365
Trinidad and Tobago are another side worth a punt at a very appealing price when they take on Panama. This will be a competitive game, but Trinidad have been scoring goals and winning matches, while Panama qualified with three draws.
Trinidad topped Mexico’s group and they’ve been thrilling to watch during this tournament. They kicked off with a 3-1 win over Guatemala, and quickly shot to the top of the group with a 2-0 win against Cuba. That left a final game against Mexico where they needed just a draw to win the group. It was a topsy-turvy game which saw both sides lead at various points, and ended with a late goal each as the teams drew 4-4.
In contrast, Panama have drawn all three of their matches so far 1-1, against Honduras, USA and Haiti. They were somewhat fortunate to play USA after they had already qualified, and it would be a fair assessment to say that if USA had needed the victory, Panama could have been on the plane home. They will be hard to beat, but if Trinidad & Tobago bring their shooting boots, they might just be able to outscore Panama, and they’re worth a punt at decent odds.
Mexico v Costa Rica 00:30 (BST) Mon 20th July
Mexico – -115 with Betvictor
Draw – +275 with Coral
Mexico were our tip for the title and we’ll stick by that bet, despite their best attempts to do it the hard way. It all started perfectly with a 6-0 trouncing of Cuba, but they came unstuck against a resolute Guatemala in the next game as they were held to a 0-0 draw. The final match against Trinidad and Tobago offered them a chance of overtaking their opponents and winning the group, but they could only draw in a memorable game. Mexico were 2-0 up by 50 minutes and apparently coasting, but had fallen 3-2 behind by the 66th minute. Two late Mexican goals looked to have sealed the victory 4-3, but there was still time for a Trinidad equalizer in the 93rd minute.
Costa Rica have underwhelmed at the tournament so far, but they have been hard to beat and are still a formidable side. They started with a 2-2 draw with Jamaica, and went on to draw 1-1 with El Salvador and 0-0 with Canada. They showed at the World Cup in Brazil what a good side they can be, but it remains true that they haven’t won a game since last October.
Costa Rica have actually drawn their last four games in a row, while Mexico have drawn 7 of their last 10. Two of the last three meetings between the sides have been drawn, and in a quarter-final that is bound to be a tense affair, the draw represents a decent value bet over 90 minutes.
Jamaica – +140 with Betvictor
Mexico v Costa Rica – Draw – +275 with Coral
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