CONCACAF Cup: An embraced concept

The U.S. (white jersey) and Mexico last met at the Rose Bowl -- site of the 2015 CONCACAF Cup -- on June 25, 2011, in the Gold Cup final. (Photo: Mexsport 

MIAMI -- The FIFA Confederations Cup is a competition contested once every four years between national team champions of each of the six continental confederations, the World Cup holder and host nation. 

Historically, CONCACAF’s representative was the champion of the Gold Cup played two years prior to the Confederations Cup, leaving the winner of the tournament disputed two years earlier with no opportunity for prospective involvement. 

In order to address that disparity, it was announced in April 2013 that the champions of the 2013 and 2015 editions of the Gold Cup would meet in a playoff to decide CONCACAF’s representative in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. 

The innovative variation serves to enhance the Gold Cup, while giving each of its champions the same opportunity to represent CONCACAF at the FIFA level. It ensures that in a four-year cycle both editions of the Gold Cup retain equal importance from a competitive standpoint. 

As a result, the United States (2013 Gold Cup champion) and Mexico (2015 Gold Cup champion) earned the right to meet in the first CONCACAF Cup on Saturday, at the sold-out Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. 

Since 1991, the CONCACAF Gold Cup has been the confederation’s premier event for men’s national teams. Growing from an eight- to a 12-team competition, the Gold Cup has been disputed on 13 occasions. Mexico owns a tournament-record seven titles, followed by the United States with five and Canada with one.