In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a whole lotta fútbol going on this summer. From Euro qualifiers to the 2015 Copa América to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, we’ve tried to cover pretty much all of it here on the blog. The Copa América and the Women’s World Cup end this weekend. Thankfully, the CONCACAF Gold Cup kicks off on Tuesday. Officially, it is being co-hosted by the United States and Canada, but only two of the scheduled 24 matches are being held in Canada, so Canada needs to stop. Let’s learn a bit about the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The CONCACAF is a virtual little baby compared to conferences like UEFA and CONMEBOL, as it has only been around since 1991. Prior to that, the nations that make up the CONCACAF were split into two different conferences, the CCCF and the NAFC. The CCCF (Confederación Centroamericana y del Caribe de Fútbol) was made up of all of the nations from Central America; Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Suriname (Aruba also competed at some point). The NAFC (North American Football Conference) meanwhile, was made up of Canada, Mexico and the United States (Cuba was in it until that whole embargo thing). The two conferences merged in 1961, and 30 years later, the Gold Cup was created:
- Group A: United States, Panama, Haiti and Honduras
- Group B: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica and Canada
- Group C: Mexico, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba
In no particular order, here’s some interesting tidbits about the tournament:
- Prior to the creation of the Gold Cup, the CONCACAF Championship was held ten times from 1963 until 1989, but it just didn’t have a fancy name.
- The winners of that tournament are as follows: Costa Rica (1963, 1969, 1989), Mexico (1965, 1971, 1977), Guatemala (1967), Haiti (1973),Honduras (1981) and Canada (1985)
- The United States hosted and won the first installment of the Gold Cup in 1991, and have hosted, or co-hosted, every one of the 13 tournaments (co-hosted with Mexico in 1993 and 2003, and with Canada this year).
- Mexico has the most championships with six (1993, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2009, 2011), while the United States has five (1991, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2013). Canada is the only other country to win it (2000).
- Six other nations have been invited to play in the tournament: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, South Africa and South Korea. There have been no guests since the 2003 tourney.
- Other caribbean nations to participate: Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize and Nicaragua.
- Here’s how nations qualify for the Gold Cup: The three teams from the old NCAF (USA, Mexico and Canada) all qualify automatically. The top four teams from the Copa Centroamericana (Central American Cup) and the Caribbean Cup all get in. Finally, there’s a playoff between the two fifth place teams from the Centroamericana and the Caribbean Cups.
For the Stat Heads
- The all-time leading scorer for the Gold Cup is the USMNT’s own, Landon Donovan, with 18 goals. As if you didn’t know already. Mexico’s Luis Roberto Alves (12) and Panama’s Blas Perez (10), are the only other two with double digit goals. The next best American is Eric Wynalda, with 9.
- The most goals scored by one player in one tournament is 11, by Alves in the 1993 Gold Cup. Yikes. The most in one cup by an American is shared by Donovan and Chris Wondolowski, who each had 5 in 2013.
- Four Americans (Tony Meola, Kasey Keller, Brian McBride and Landon Donovan) and five Mexicans (Ramón Ramírez, Raúl Lara, Jesús Arellano, Giovani dos Santos and Javier Hernández) have won the MVP. No one has ever won it twice, and the only non-American or Mexicans to win the MVP are Canada’s Craig Forrest (2000) and Julian de Guzman (2007) and Panama’s Luis Tejada (2005).
- Bruce Arena is the only head coach to win the tournament twice (2002, 2005).
Just the Facts, Ma’am
- The tournament will start on Tuesday, July 7th and finish up on July 26th (my wedding day, how nice!)
- The top two teams from each group, and the top two third place teams, all move on to the knockout round.
- The tournament will be played at 13 total venues across the United States, and also at BMO Field in Toronto. Thanks, Canada. Don’t tire yourselves out.
- The winner of the tournament will go on to represent CONCACAF at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.
- All games will be broadcast in the United States on FOX and Univisión.
- New York Giants Free Agency: So Far, So Good - March 10, 2017
- Forgotten Titles: WWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship - January 18, 2017
- Wendi Richter, The Fabulous Moolah and the MSG Screwjob - January 11, 2017
- Forgotten Titles: The WWF Women’s Tag Team Championships - January 5, 2017
- Forgotten Yankees: Curtis Pride - January 1, 2017
- Neville Is Saving the WWE Cruiserweight Division - January 1, 2017
- Little Pieces: Yankees Sign Ruben Tejada - December 12, 2016
- Should the Yankees Shop Masahiro Tanaka? - December 7, 2016
- Take Some Time to Celebrate: Yankees Sign Matt Holliday - December 6, 2016
- Let’s Talk About Rich Hill - November 27, 2016