Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe Gold Cup 2013 – 5 talking points - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The Gold Cup 2013 – 5 talking points - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The Gold Cup 2013 – 5 talking points

Mexico recover from stutter

When the depleted Mexican’s were beaten in their first group game by Panama there were several who questioned whether their second string squad would even make it out of the group – what would have been a huge shock even taking into account the personnel being used. Only once in the tournaments history have they failed to escape their group which was way back in 1963, whilst they have made the final in four of the last five contests.

The Panama fixture was always going to represent the toughest test given that they have made it to the final round of world cup qualification – that said it is hard not to be taken aback by a Mexican defeat. They have responded solidly rather than unspectacular with wins over both Canada and Martinique which has booked their place in the last eight, with Marco Fabian taking the chance to step up in the absence of the first team side by contributing three precious goals.

The States will take some stopping

Overwhelming favourites coming into the tournament following both Mexico and Costa Rica being significantly weakened the USA have not disappointed – despite themselves leaving out a host of key names. 

Jurgen Klinsman’s side have smashed ten goals past Cuba and Belize, with Chris Wondolowski scoring five of these – in the process firmly thrusting himself into the plans for next year’s World Cup. Landan Donovan has also enhanced his hopes of competing in yet another World Cup, whilst two penalties have further strengthened his grip as the states leading all-time scorer.

This is a tournament that in truth provides little for the US to gain and a lot to lose given their massive billing as favourites so to see them start so ruthlessly will undoubtedly please Klinsman. The final group game against Costa Rica should prove a much sterner test, nevertheless it would still be a huge surprise to see anything other than an America win.

Shocks remain off the menu

Despite several of the so called stronger nations of Central American football entering this tournament with under strength sides, we have seen minimal amount of upsets – with results thus far relatively running to the script.

The likes of USA, Honduras, Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama have so far found little to trouble them in their quest to reach the last eight and it’s hard not to suggest that a selection of these sides won’t make up the last four.

Martinique crossing fingers over spot in the last eight

Coming into the tournament without even possessing a FIFA ranking and having taken the final spot of qualification from the Caribbean zone, little was expected of tiny Martinique. However a victory in the dying second against Canada coupled with only narrow defeats against Mexico and Panama has given them a chance of qualifying as one of the best third placed nations.

A win for El Salvador over Haiti would likely prolong their wait over whether their tournament will go on, unless that win is by a significant margin. Their best hopes of reaching the quarter finals though appear to rest on the outcome of the fixture between Belize and Cuba, given that if either of those sides are to qualify they will need a convincing win – which seems unlikely.

Panama living up to dark horses billing

Having impressively seen off Mexico in their opening fixture Panama more than signalled that they could be a real danger here and take advantage of the already mentioned weakened squads of several of the fancied nations.

Topping Group A should provide them with a golden chance of at least matching their efforts of two years ago, with a fixture against one of the best third placed sides unlikely to provide a significant threat.

They are side who are tough to beat – having only lost twice in six games of the final world cup qualification round and given the situation of the tournament they will fancy their chance of overcoming anyone, perhaps of course for the USA.