CONCACAF has announced the groups and complete match schedule for the 2015 Gold Cup, which is set to run from July 7th to July 26th. The winner of this summer’s Gold Cup will play against the U.S., the winners of the 2013 Gold Cup, for CONCACAF’s berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup.
The 12-team field is not yet completely known, with Honduras and French Guiana set to face off for the final spot in the tournament, but the groups have already been revealed. Update: Honduras defeated French Guiana 4-3 on aggregate to claim the final berth in Group A.
GROUP A: USA, Panama, Haiti, and Honduras
GROUP B: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Canada, and Jamaica
GROUP C: Mexico, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, and Cuba
Mexico’s first game will come against Cuba on July 9th in Chicago, IL, followed by Guatemala on July 12th in Phoenix, AZ, and then Trinidad & Tobago on July 15th in Charlotte, NC.
The top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout rounds, as well as the two best third-placed teams. Mexico, the highest-ranked team in its group by far, will be the heavy favorite in Group C. As of the March FIFA rankings, “El Tri” is 21st, Trinidad & Tobago is 63rd, Guatemala is 82nd and Cuba is 110th. The difference between the two highest-ranked teams is 42 places and between the highest and lowest is 89.
For comparison, in Group A, the U.S. is 32nd, Panama is 61st, Haiti is 77th and Honduras, is 81st; the difference between the two highest-ranked teams is 29 places, and from highest to lowest is 49.
The distances in Group B are much starker, since it contains both Costa Rica – the highest ranked team in CONCACAF – and Canada, the lowest ranked team in the tournament. They are 13th and 116th, respectively, with Jamaica in 76th and El Salvador in 89th, making the distance between the two-highest ranked teams 63 places, with a full 103 places between the highest and lowest.