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2011 Gold Cup taking shape as three more teams qualify

Costa Rica 1 (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

The 2011 Gold Cup is five months away, and all but two nations set to participate are known as three more qualified on Sunday.

Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama reached the Gold Cup with wins that assured them of playing in the semifinals of the Copa Centroamericana, the seven-team tournament that names a Central American champion and decides which five nations from the region reach CONCACAF's biggest stage. 

Costa Rica, which has started New York Red Bulls defender Roy Miller (pictured above on the right) in both its matches, disposed of Guatemala, 2-0. The win came just two days after a 1-1 draw with Honduras in the Group B opener.

Having won its first match against Nicaragua, 2-0, El Salvador secured qualification in Group A with a 5-2 beatdown of Belize. Host Panama also punched its ticker to the Gold Cup with a pair of 2-0 wins, first against Belize, then Nicaragua.

The three nations joined the United States, Mexico, Canada, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Cuba and Grenada as teams that have qualified for the Gold Cup.

Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Nicaragua are all still in the hunt for the remaining two spots in the Gold Cup, and the next set of matches in the Copa Centroamericana will take place on Jan. 18.

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What do you think of Panama, Costa Rica and El Salvador reaching the Gold Cup? Who else do you see joining them? Which team are you hoping is not in the United States' group?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. No. The reason is they’ve only played one game so far (a tie with Costa Rica). If they beat Guatemala in the next game they’re in and I think if they draw Guatemals they’re in too.

    It’s just the format of the tournament that means they haven’t qualified as of yet.

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  2. I actually laughed out loud a couple of times when the ball stopped rolling thinking the air had gone out of it and it had gone flat…turns out it was just the turf.

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  3. According to Wiki, “The three teams [USA, Can, Mex] are always qualified to the final stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, so there is no qualifying tournament for this zone unlike the tournaments for the UNCAF and the CFU.” Presumably it has to do with the fact that there are only 3 North American teams in contention, so they all get in rather than playing a 3-team round robin.

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  4. How come USA and Mexico get in automatically but Honduras has to fight through qualifying? I feel there should be some carry over from World Cup qualifying or the last Gold Cup, whatever CONCACAF uses to weigh who gets in.

    Ives, I hope you are planning a big preview of this tournament, including the players to watch, maybe even a CONCACAF Best XI pre-tournament and post-tournament? There are so many good players that your readers, including myself, have yet to discover.

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  5. I watched parts of all the weekend matches. Was not that impressed with the quality of any of the teams. Granted that many of the Best players for CRC, HON, etc… were not there to participate, but still was not impressed.

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  6. I think Honduras and Guatemala will be the other 2 teams to qualify. The way the groups are set up, one of those 2 will get into the semis and therefore qualify for the Gold Cup, while the other is guaranteed a place in the 5th place match, with the winner of that game being the final team to qualify for the Gold Cup.

    (As an aside, the field condition Ives mentioned on his twitter is because every single game is being played on the same field. 11 games in 9 days on one field. It’s not going to look pretty).

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  7. Is the reason Honduras seems to be struggling down to the fact that they have so many foreign players and they aren’t currently playing in the this tournament?

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  8. Gotta hope Honduras makes it! Great fans and a fun team that has some quality players playing in England.

    Hopefully Guatemala and their rough brand of anti-football steers clear of the US group!

    Finger’s crossed for a USA v Canada match.

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