Mexico’s Hirving Lozano (22) and Wales’ Rhys Norrington-Davies vie for the ball during a friendly soccer match at the Cardiff City Stadium, in Cardiff, Wales, Saturday, March 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)
- Mexico and United States are heavy favorites to win the 2021 Gold Cup, at +115 and +170 respectively
- Costa Rica, Canada and 2022 World Cup host Qatar are also in the mix to lift the trophy
- Read on for a preview, full odds and a best bet for this year’s tournament
With players coming off long, compressed domestic and international seasons, the 2021 Gold Cup, which kicks off on Saturday, July 10, might not boast all the talent that might normally be available for this tournament. For instance, the United States will be missing the likes of Christian Pulisic and Claudio Reyna, and Canada’s Jonathan David sits out after leading Lille to the French title.
However, it seems that Mexico didn’t get the memo, as manager Gerardo Martino named an almost full-strength squad for this event, as El Tri looks to win a second straight Gold Cup and a fifth championship in 12 years.
2021 Gold Cup Odds
|Trinidad & Tobago||+10000|
Odds as of July 9 at DraftKings
Mexico Making Its Play
Martino’s squad may be missing the likes of Raul Jimenez, with the Wolves player still recovering from a fractured skull, but Mexico isn’t missing much else as it attempts to defend the title it regained with a 1-0 final win over the US two years ago.
Hirving Lozano is Concacaf’s Player of the Year 🇲🇽
Remember when he did this to Germany? 😍pic.twitter.com/TxHAUmHQ51
— Goal (@goal) January 15, 2019
In place of Jimenez, Mexico will lean on the talents of Napoli playmaker Hirving Lozano to drive play forward and will be hoping that Monterrey hitman Rogelio Funes Mori will be able to continue the impact he made when he scored on his national-team debut earlier this month.
Goal No. 1 for Rogelio Funes Mori with Mexico#ElTri | #Rayados pic.twitter.com/7hLS14X4D9
— Rayados90 (@rayadosninety) July 4, 2021
El Tri should have little trouble getting out of a group that includes Curacao, El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago, and looks set for a deep run into the knockout stages.
2021 CONMEBOL Copa América Odds Tracker
New-look US Hoping to Reveal Depth
Fresh off a 3-2 CONCACAF Nations League final win over Mexico, the United States men’s soccer team appears to be in a good place as it tries to regain the Gold Cup it lost in the 2019 final.
However, with important World Cup qualifiers looming in September, and mindful that many of his European-based players have played a lot of soccer over the past 14 months or so since European leagues restarted after the first pandemic stoppage, head coach Gregg Berhalter has ringed the changes with this squad.
Just four players from the Nations League-winning squad have been named to this edition. On top of that, that squad had just four players from Major League Soccer, whereas this current team has just four players from outside MLS, with just two players in their 30s (both goalkeepers, unsurprisingly).
Daryl Dike effect. https://t.co/BGx3V2ZF9P
— sublime50 (@sublime50illus1) July 4, 2021
However, the likes of reigning MLS defender of the year Walker Zimmerman, and Orlando City striker Daryl Dike, should ensure this US team are right in the mix for the title.
Previous Gold Cup Winners
Canadians Creating a Buzz
As if reaching the final World Cup qualifying group for the first time in eons wasn’t enough, this young Canadian squad did it style, winning all six of their games in 2021 and scoring 31 goals in the process, and conceding just once.
Admittedly, beating the likes of Aruba and the Cayman Islands is to be expected, and only Haiti and Suriname – who were the opponents in three of those six wins – were good enough to qualify for the Gold Cup. But still, John Herdman’s squad has come on leaps and bounds from a team that bowed out of the last Gold Cup in a 3-2 quarterfinal loss to Haiti.
Let’s update this graphic – CANADA 31 goals in 2021!!! #canMNT 🇨🇦 https://t.co/nbixFROoMz
— Gareth Wheeler (@GarethWheeler) July 8, 2021
Granted, clinical striker Jonathan David is missing, but the Canadians still boast the talents of Bayern Munich wing-back Alphonso Davies and striker Cyle Larin, who averaged one goal every two games for Besiktas this season in leading the club to a Turkish league and cup double.
It’s a big weekend in the Turkish Super Lig, with leaders Besiktas taking on rivals Galatasaray in 3rd
Cyle Larin currently sits on 19 goals, 2 adrift of the Golden Boot. What an achievement it would be for the former #OrlandoCity man to win the title as top scorer 🇨🇦🇹🇷 #CanMNT pic.twitter.com/CyQfIRM07K
— Chris Smith ⚽✍️ (@CJSmith91) May 7, 2021
And Canada is starting to assemble depth, too, with Toronto FC striker Ayo Akinola recently committing his international future to Canada after briefly flirting with the US, while midfielder Tyler Pasher, who has three goals in eight games for Houston Dynamo, has been called into the squad for the first time.
Best bet: Canada (+1700)
For the last 20 years, Paul Attfield has worked in sports media. Starting out in his native Britain with the likes of The Independent, he eventually switched continents, with his work appearing in the likes of the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Yahoo Sports since.