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2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup: Who’s in?

Honduras (left) and Costa Rica, shown competing against each other in the 2017 Copa Centroamericana, will play in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Photo: Imagenes en Costa Rica) 

MIAMI – With Friday’s announcement detailing the order of matches in a qualifying playoff between Haiti and Nicaragua for the last spot in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, we’re getting closer to finalizing the 12-team field.

The competition’s 14th edition kicks off July 7 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, with a Group A doubleheader. 

CONCACAF.com takes a look at the look at each of the current Gold Cup contenders: 

CANADA
Qualification: automatic North American entrant
Previous Appearances (last app): 12 (2015)
Best Finish: Champion-1 (2000)
Record: 15W-11D-15L (43GF, 53GA)

Other than the United States and Mexico, it is the only country to win the continental competition, taking home the trophy with a 2-0 win over Colombia in the 2000 final. That year, the Maple Leafs reached the knockout round via a coin-toss tiebreaker with Korea Republic and stunned then three-time defending champion Mexico in the quarterfinals (2-1).

More recently, however, the Canadians haven’t won in seven Gold Cup matches. They last tasted victory in the competition on June 11, 2011, as Dwayne De Rosario netted the lone goal from the penalty spot in a 1-0 win over Guadeloupe. 

COSTA RICA
Qualification: 4th place, 2017 Central American Cup
Previous Appearances (last app): 12 (2015)
Best Finish: Runner-up-1 (2002)
Record: 16W-15-19L (76GF, 63GA)

Costa Rica didn’t win a game in the CONCACAF Gold Cup for only the second time in 12 attempts, when it posted an overall record of 0W-3D-1L two years ago. In order to qualify for the 2017 edition, the Ticos finished fourth in January’s Copa Centroamericana (1W-3D-1L, 6 points). Many established regulars, such as Sporting Lisbon forward Bryan Ruiz (2016 CONCACAF Player of the Year) and Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas (2014 CONCACAF Player of the Year & 2016 CONCACAF Goalkeeper of the Year) didn’t take part in the competition.

Costa Rica has been eliminated at the quarterfinal stage in each of the last three Gold Cups (by Honduras in 2011 and 2013; and Mexico in 2015). 

CURACAO
Qualification: Semifinalist, 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup
Previous Appearances: none
Best Finish first-ever appearance
Record: 0W-0D-0L (0GF, 0GA)

Curacao sealed its first-ever trip to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, when it rallied for a 4-2 win over host Puerto Rico on October 11, 2016, to finish atop the Group 3 table in the third round of the 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup.

The Curacaoans have posted an overall Caribbean Cup record of 5W-0D-1L. Since dropping a 1-0 decision to Barbados in the tournament opener, they have scored 21 goals in reeling off five straight wins. 

EL SALVADOR
Qualification: 3rd place, 2017 Copa Centroamericana
Previous Appearances (last app): 9 (2015)
Best Finish: Quarterfinals-4 (2002, 2003, 2011, 2013, 2015)
Record: 7W/G; 6D/E; 15L/P; 24GF/GF; 49GA/GC 

El Salvador will feature for a 10th time in the CONCACAF Gold Cup after capturing third place in the 2017 Copa Centroamericana (2W-1D-2L, 7 points), the squad’s first international tournament under head coach Eduardo Lara, who replaced Ramon Maradiaga in December 2016. The Copa could prove to be a milestone in nation’s football evolution. The Cuscatlecos opened with a scoreless draw against two-time defending champion Costa Rica and then were edged 2-1 by eventual-champion Honduras. From that point, wins over Belize (3-1) and Nicaragua (1-0) sandwiched a narrow 1-0 loss to runner-up and host Panama.

The Salvadorans have scored one goal or fewer in each of their last six Gold Cup outings, posting a 1-2-3 record over that stretch. 

FRENCH GUIANA
Qualification: Semifinalist, 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup
Previous Appearances: none
Best Finish: first-ever appearance
Record: 0W/G; 0D/E; 0L/P; 0GF/GF; 0GA/GC 

French Guiana sealed a first-ever Gold Cup place by advancing to the 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup semifinals. Through the third round of play, it has posted an overall record of 4W-0D-2L, scoring at least one goal in each game.

The French Guianese fell agonizingly short of qualifying for the 2015 Gold Cup, defeating visiting Honduras, 3-1, in the first leg of a playoff for the last berth. When the sides met again four days later in San Pedro Sula, the host Catrachos roared to a 3-0 win and progressed 4-3 on aggregate. 

HONDURAS
Qualification: Champion, 2017 Copa Centroamericana
Previous Appearances (last app): 12 (2015)
Best Finish: Runner-up-1 (1991)
Record: 18W-7D-19 (67GF, 58GA)

After rallying in a two-legged Caribbean/Central American playoff against French Guiana (agg: 4-3) to claim the last spot in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Honduras left no doubt about its participation in the 2017 edition. The Catrachos (4W-1D-0L, 13 points) went unbeaten in five games to finish first in the 2017 Copa Centroamericana. Midfielder Jorge Claros earned Golden Ball honors at the Copa, while forward Eddie Hernandez took home the Golden Boot with three goals. Right-back Jairo Puerto and attacker Erick Andino joined them in the Best XI team.

The depth being developed by head coach Jorge Luis Pinto, though, gives belief that Honduras can return to the Gold Cup knockout rounds after not advancing past the group stage two years ago for the first time since 2003. In fact, it reached three straight semifinals, before finishing last in Group A in 2015. 

JAMAICA
Qualification: Semifinalist, 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup
Previous Appearances (last app): 9 (2015)
Best Finish: Runner-up-1 (2015)
Record: 13W-5D-17L (40GF, 55GA)

Jamaica pulled off one of the biggest surprises in Gold Cup history, when it reached the 2015 final, ultimately falling to Mexico, 3-1. Along the way, the Reggae Boyz drew 2-2 with 2014 FIFA World Cup quarterfinalist Costa Rica and beat the United States, 2-1, in the semifinals.

In order to reach the 2017 Gold Cup, Jamaica captured the top spot in its 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup, third-round group, posting a 2W-0D-0L record, with wins over Guyana (4-2) and Suriname (1-0).

MARTINIQUE
Qualification: Semifinalist, 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup
Previous Appearances (last app): 4 (2013)
Best Finish: Quarterfinals-1 (2002)
Record: 2W-2D-7L (7GF, 24GA)

Thanks to reaching the 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup semifinals, Martinique will be making its fifth appearance in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Its debut came in 1993, when it registered an historic 2-2 draw with Canada on goals by Georges Gertrude and Thierry Fondelot.

Through the third round of the current Caribbean Cup, Martinique is a perfect 6W-0D-0L, scoring 17 goals and conceding only two. Twelve players have gotten their names on the scoresheet, with Steeven Langil (4 goals), Yoann Arquin (2) and Kevin Parsemain (2) combining for eight goals.

MEXICO
Qualification: automatic North American entrant
Previous Appearances (last app): 13 (2015)
Best Finish: Champion-7 (1993, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2009, 2011, 2015)
Record: 45W-9D-8L (149GF, 39GA)

Mexico is one of only two teams to participate in every Gold Cup, with the United States being the other. It has competed in eight of the 13 all-time finals, lifting the trophy in 2015 for a record-extending seventh title. The Tricolor is the only side to win three consecutive titles (1993, 1996, 1998) and it also captured two straight once (2009, 2011).

Head coach Juan Carlos Osorio is in charge of a squad that contains three past Gold Cup MVPs -- Giovani Dos Santos (2009), Javier Hernandez (2011) and Andres Guardado (2015).

PANAMA
Qualification: 2nd place, 2017 Copa Centroamericana
Previous Appearances (last app): 7 (2015)
Best Finish: Runner-up-2 (2005, 2013)
Record: 10W-14D-10L (47GF, 43GA)

A perennial challenger and two-time runner-up, Panama continues the quest for a first CONCACAF Gold Cup title in its seventh straight tournament appearance. Two years ago, the Panamanians finished in third place without winning any of their six games. They posted an overall record of 0W-5D-1L, outlasting the United States in the match for third place, 3-2 on penalty kicks, following a 1-1 draw. The Canaleros had been ousted by the Americans in the previous five Gold Cups, each time by one goal or fewer.

Panama qualified for this year’s Gold Cup by going 3-1-1 to finish second in the 2017 Copa Centroamericana, conceding one goal or fewer in each of the five games (including three shutouts). The only loss (its first in 17 Copa matches) came against eventual-champion Honduras, 1-0, on matchday three.

USA
Qualification: automatic North American entrant
Previous Appearances (last app): 13 (2015)
Best Finish: Champion-5 (1991, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2013)
Record: 51W-8D-8L (134GF, 49GA)

Only Mexico has enjoyed more success in the Gold Cup than the United States. The Americans have captured five titles -- two less than their rival to the south.

After head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and the U.S. parted ways in November 2016, Bruce Arena was tabbed as his replacement. It’s a second spell in charge for Arena, who previously led the side to two Gold Cup titles (2002, 2005) and an historic quarterfinal finish in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

The U.S. owns the record for most wins in Gold Cup history (51).

 
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