clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Group A, round 3 round-up: Costa Rica and Canada through to the quarterfinals

And Honduras is also in the quarterfinals, thanks to Panama beating Martinique in Group B.

Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports

The final standings in Group A see Costa Rica go through to the quarterfinals as the group winner, as expected. Runner-up Canada also advances. Third-placed Honduras is waiting to see how the race for lucky-loser spots in the next round shakes out. French Guiana goes home.

Costa Rica 3-0 French Guiana

Costa Rica finally found some goals, which will be some consolation for a team that has spent most of the group stage watching its squad reduced by injury. Los Ticos have one of the deeper player pools in CONCACAF, but that depth is being severely tested at this tournament. Several of the team's best players are not at the competition at all at the moment, but reinforcements will be required for the knockout rounds. Cristian Gamboa has been added to an injury list that already included Bryan Oviedo, Johan Venegas, and Joel Campbell.

Still, even a depleted Costa Rica side proved too strong for French Guiana. Ariel Rodriguez scored early for Los Ticos, settling any anxiety in the fourth minute. At the other end of the game - in the 79th and 83rd minutes - Rodney Wallace and David Ramirez made the result secure.

Costa Rica marches on to the quarterfinals, where it will play the runner-up from Group B (expected to Panama, but possibly the USA).

For French Guiana, it was a disappointing end to a disappointing tournament. The team's first appearance at Gold Cup was intended to be highlighted by Florent Malouda representing the country of his birth. But CONCACAF intervened to prevent that with an adjustment to its policy regarding player eligibility for Gold Cup squads, and French Guiana's competition deteriorated into a confusing and ultimately self-defeating battle with the confederation over selection regulations.

CONCACAF ought to shoulder most of the blame - it isn't entirely clear why it decided to change a long-standing player eligibility policy that would otherwise have allowed Malouda to play. The Gold Cup doesn't suffer when players like Malouda feature; it does suffer when it is attracting headlines about ineligible players being deliberately put on the field, and disciplinary measures being announced at 3:00 am.

French Guiana looks, at worst, stubborn. CONCACAF looks, at best, incompetent. There are - as ESPN's Jeff Carlisle noted - ultimately no winners.

CONCACAF has changed a rule that didn't need to be changed, damaged its own reputation through inadequate procedures for the enforcement of that rule, and spoiled the Gold Cup debut of one its members - who merely wanted to have a legendary local player appear on the field in accordance with regulations that were not in the slightest bit controversial in prior tournaments.

But the episode is now over.

Canada 0-0 Honduras

Canada hadn't been out of the group stage of Gold Cup since 2009 and hadn't won a game at the tournament since 2011, so this scoreless draw was significant. The Canadians are through to the quarterfinals, and not by some quirk of scheduling or as a lucky-loser: they are unbeaten in group play, have a positive goal difference and Alphonso Davies is one of the competition's leading scorers.

This is a successful Gold Cup for Canada, and there is no shame in taking a point and a clean sheet to close out the group stage.

For Honduras, it is a slightly different story. Los Catrachos have three points and +2 goal difference on paper - sufficient to see them through to the quarterfinals, as confirmed once Panama beat Martinique on July 15. But the points and goals are the product of a forfeit win over French Guiana. On the field, in reality, Honduras has scored no goals and won no games in the group stage. It is the primary beneficiary of French Guiana's decision to challenge CONCACAF, but it is perhaps a modest benefit: Honduras might be in the quarterfinals, but it is not there on merit and doesn't look particularly well-equipped to handle the challenge of all but the most modest opponents in this tournament.

Costa Rica will play the Group B runner-up (Panama or the USA) on July 19 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Canada will play the Group C runner-up (Jamaica or El Salvador, most likely; possibly Mexico) on July 20 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.