MIAMI.- Monday’s 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup draw produced a competitive Group A full of teams led by veteran managers.
Mexico, led by Gerardo “Tata” Martino, Curacao, led by Guys Hiddink, and El Salvador, led by Carlos de los Cobos, will be joined by either Trinidad and Tobago, Montserrat, Cuba or French Guiana to round out what should be a competitive group.
Martino noted that as reigning champions and as the confederation’s most successful team all-time, Mexico not only has the obligation to get out of the group, but also to lift the trophy. To do that, however, he said careful scouting of group opponents will be needed to avoid surprises.
“The group, there’s a long time until the competition and we’ll absolutely observe more of Curacao, of El Salvador and who the fourth team in the group is,” Martino said.
“You have to compete against everyone, no matter the value one places on every one of those teams.”
El Salvador was in a group with Curacao at the previous Gold Cup, and De Los Cobos said he’s seen how the Caribbean country has grown. But, he said, being in a group with a rising power and the reigning champion of the tournament isn’t reason for fear.
“Far from worrying about this situation, it motivates. It motivates us to be in a group of this level because we know that we’ll have to put in a good effort,” De Los Cobos said. “The last tournament, we had a good start, beating Curacao and drawing with Jamaica. The last game went poorly for us. We lost the order and lost the game against Honduras that left us out of the next round. It definitely taught us a lesson. We’re going to go as well-prepared as possible and achieve what we want, to be in a semifinal for the first time.
Curacao will be eager to get out of the group stage once again and continue to show improvement, as Hiddink takes charge for his major tournament leading the side.