The Gold Cup has been a success so far for us, and we’re still feeling good about the USA’s chances of taking the trophy. Bruce Arena’s side drew their opener with Panama 1-1, but took three points from an eventful 3-2 victory over Martinique. A final group match against Nicaragua in the early hours of Sunday morning (for UK viewers) follows, and they are fully expected to confirm their place in the last eight.
Panama are in pole position to join USA in the automatic slots from group B after accruing four points from two matches, but they face a tie against Martinique – who with three points already in the bag could overtake Panama with a win. The two best runners-up from the three groups will also qualify for the quarter finals, so that will be taken into account by the teams vying for 2nd and 3rd places across the groups.
El Salvador are one such side, sitting in 3rd place in group C at the moment behind Mexico and Jamaica. The Mexicans face bottom-of-the-group Curacao in a game they are expected to win, so the 2nd and 3rd slots are up for grabs when Jamaica and El Salvador meet on Sunday night.
Canada and Costa Rica look set to claim the top spots in group A with Honduras battling to take one of those spots away from them, but it’s the former two groups that we’re concentrating on this weekend.
Jamaica v El Salvador
Jamaica are decent odds at +130 with Marathonbet to get the win against El Salvador, and they may have been underestimated by the bookies for the second successive tournament.
The Jamaicans reached the final of the 2015 Gold Cup, losing out to Mexico, but they had finished top of their group and beaten USA in the semi finals. This time around they started with a 2-0 win over Curacao and followed up with a very creditable 0-0 draw against Mexico in midweek. We tipped Jamaica with a +1.5 goal headstart, but they didn’t need it as they came away with the point. That puts them level on four points with the Mexicans, although 2nd on goal difference.
El Salvador are currently ranked last of the three 3rd placed teams across the groups, and therefore would not qualify for the last eight as things stand. They probably need to take something from this game, or hope that Honduras or Martinique suffer a heavy defeat in their last games to swing the goal difference.
El Salvador’s three points came from a 2-0 victory over Curacao, but they were swept aside 3-1 by Mexico. They’ve also lost the last four meetings with Jamaica and a similar result is fancied to be the outcome here.
Panama v Martinique
Panama had drawn four in a row prior to the 2-1 win over Nicaragua, and goals appear to be in fairly short supply. They’ve managed eight goals in the last eight games, and only twice have they scored more than once in those matches.
Martinique may not be a superpower of football in the region but they certainly don’t appear to struggle to find the net. We predicted that their match with USA would exceed the 2.5 goal line, and a 3-2 result meant the bet was never in doubt – even if all the goals came in the second half. They’ve hit 20 goals in the last ten matches, including four at this tournament in two matches so far.
A draw would see Panama through in 2nd place (at least), while it would most likely be enough for Martinique to qualify for the quarters as one of the best third placed sides.
USA & Mexico at the Double
Finally both USA and Mexico are worth adding to the accumulators at short odds to win their respective games this weekend. USA are -455 with William Hill to beat Nicaragua, and Mexico are -476 with Marathonbet to beat Curacao.
The two minnows are both rock bottom of groups B & C with two defeats and zero points. Curacao have managed one goal so far but Nicaragua still have a 0 in the goals scored column. It would be a huge shock if either of the USA or Mexico didn’t win, and both are expected to take three points and finish top of their respective sections.
Jamaica to beat El Salvador
Sunday 16th July, 23:00 GMT
Panama and Martinique to Draw
Saturday 15th July, 21:30 GMT
USA to beat Nicaragua
Sunday 16th July, 00:00 GMT
Mexico to beat Curacao
Monday 17th July, 01:30 GMT