The 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup has reached the knockout stage, with eight sides remaining, including the three favourites Costa Rica, United States and Mexico.
Wednesday sees a double header as Costa Rica face Panama and USA face El Salvador, both at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with the winner of the matches to play again on Saturday and Sunday in the semi-finals at AT&T Stadium Arlington, Texas.
Costa Rica advanced to the knockout stage after winning Group A, whilst Panama were second place finishers in Group B and became the second highest scoring team so far in the tournament. Neither side has won the Gold Cup previously.
USA who won their Group B and lead with seven goals are stronger on paper than El Salvador, who emerged in third place in Group C.
The two other matches will be played on Thursday at the University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona, where Jamaica will face Canada and Mexico will face Honduras.
The first match should be more of an even pairing, however the Reggae Boyz reached the Gold Cup final the last time around, while Canada hasn’t advanced past this point in a decade.
Mexico and Honduras conceded just two goals collectively in their six group-stage games. Mexico are playing a ‘B’ squad, but even so could be the better of the two sides.
WHAT IS THE CONCACAF GOLD CUP?
The Gold Cup is the regional championship for CONCACAF, the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football which is held every two years. Along with lifting a trophy and earning supremacy in the confederation, the winner of the Gold Cup earns a place in the CONCACAF Cup, a one-game playoff that determines the region’s representative at the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup. Should the same team win both in 2017 and 2019, they will automatically earn a place in the tournament.