(The World Cup that is!)
The Gold Cup of 2021 just concluded with a grand finale on 8-1-21 in the final between the United States and Mexico! It doesn’t get any better than that!
United States 1
Gold Cup 2021 Champions: United States!
Here’s the good news/bad news:
- The US won the Gold Cup
- The US has momentum going into the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers
- The US has partly swiped away the dreaded reality of not qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup
- The Gold Cup is great but, according to practically everyone in the world, CONCACAF is arguably one of the weakest Confederations in the world***
- The US still has to overcome the dreaded reality of not qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup—in arguably the weakest Confederation, CONCACAF—which is a tough hill to climb
- In recent years, the US has done quite well in ‘it’s own backyard,’ i.e., the Gold Cup and within CONCACAF; once the US exits its own backyard things get very difficult
- The US roster is perhaps in a state of fluctuation; there are a lot of questions going into the upcoming Octagonal pertaining to team chemistry and who should play where
For newcomers, essentially the Gold Cup is the CONCACAF championship, with the exception of this year’s guest-team Qatar (who played quite well). Let’s take a look at the Gold Cup, which, in essence, is a warm-up tournament for the USMNT as it looks to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup starting this fall!
Here is a summary of the 2021 Gold Cup for the USMNT:
United States vs Haiti
Haiti put up a good fight but the win went to the United States.
United States vs Martinique
Martinique, a small island-nation, didn't have the best of games.
United States vs Canada
Canada, a nation improving with soccer by leaps and bounds, had a decent showing but lost in the end.
United States vs Jamaica
Jamaica, always a tough opponent and a classic rival to the USMNT, put up a good fight but couldn't hold off the United States.
United States vs Qatar
Qatar, a guest-team this time around (the host of the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup), had a great game but couldn't find a goal.
United States vs Mexico
Las Vegas, Nevada
Mexico had a better game yet the US pulled out a gritty win with a set piece toward the end of the match.
The bigger picture is clear: What about the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers beginning this September 2021? Well, that’s the question. Can the US pull it off? Will the roster be adequate enough to topple the best of CONCACAF in the accelerated Octagonal qualification process? It’s yet to be seen as the USMNT chases America’s last athletic frontier: a men’s championship in the FIFA World Cup!
*** Outside of Oceania, of course. The discussion is interesting though, as one could reasonably conclude that CONCACAF, Africa, and Asia are a tie.