Gold Cup Catch-Up: Standings, Mexico Loses (Ha, ha ha!)

With astonishing rapidity, the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup continued yesterday - and how!

Not only did Mexico stumble against Honduras (enjoy Luis Bueno's clinical breakdown), but yesterday featured another shock or two to perceptions: for instance, Guadeloupe beating Canada and Costa Rica's continued fizzle. A look at the standings (which show here, but I'll replicate them for convenience's sake below) only confirms that his been a delightfully unpredictable edition of the regional championship - and, thankfully, a few thousand people are getting out to see it.

At any rate, here are those standings:

Group A
Guadeloupe: 1-1-0 (w-d-l); 4 pts.
Canada: 1-0-1; 3 pts.
Haiti: 0-2-0; 2 pts.
Costa Rica: 0-1-1; 1 pt.

Group B
United States: 2-0-0; 6 pts.
El Salvador: 1-0-1; 3 pts.
Guatemala: 1-0-1; 3 pts.
Trinidad and Tobago: 0-0-2; 0 pts.

Group C
Panama: 1-1-0; 4 pts.
Honduras: 1-1-0; 4 pts.
Mexico: 1-0-1; 3 pts.
Cuba: 0-1-1; 1 pt.

With this tournament now hitting warp-speed, if only apparently, the big story still centers on Mexico's, um...delicate...situation. For reasons of mathematical/competitive incompetence, I thought a U.S. v. Mexico game couldn't possibly arrive in the next round (thanks to the quarterfinal system that has: 1A v. 2b; 1B v. 3A/3C; 1C v. 3A/3B; 2A v. 2C) till Steve Goff suggested otherwise. With that possibility in mind, I tried to work out the math, starting by checking who plays who in their final game; add that to the knowledge that the relevant spot (e.g. the team that the U.S. team plays) goes to the better of the third-place teams in Group A or C (though even that could get tricky, with the 1C v. 3A/3B game in play). So to start with who plays who:

June 11 (e.g. tonight): Costa Rica v. Guadeloupe; Haiti v. Canada
June 12: United States v. El Salvador; Guatemala v. "Trinibago"
June 13: Cuba v. Honduras; Mexico v. Panama

As someone, somewhere pointed out, it hardly begs imagining that Panama could top Mexico (and, if you think they're whining now...whoa nelly), which would strand them on three points; obviously, a draw would leave them stalled at four. Turning our gaze up to Group A, that would pit them against, potentially, any of the teams in Group A (with Costa Rica looking the long-shot). The scarier thing for Mexico (and those Group A teams) is that Honduras has Cuba, the weaker team of Group C so far...though who would be surprised if Cuba dropped Honduras? Then again, a Honduran win makes a Mexican one required, thus upping the stakes (delicious).

At any rate, it's probably possible for Mexico to come third in Group C for the same reasons it's possible for El Salvador to, currently, sit ahead of Guatemala in the Group B standings; goal-differential and the like. But is anyone out there seriously upset that we close with the Salvadorans? Maybe it's possible to nail down the permutations at this point and figure out who is likeliest to go where, but I'm not about to attempt it. Suffice to say, my first choice involves Mexico dropping out. No offense to them and, as proved so far in this Gold Cup, that would hardly level the hills and straighten the road to a U.S. victory...but, when potential enters the equation, things would look simpler without Mexico in the frame.

So, Forza Panama!

In any case, Ives Galarcep went and compiled Gold Cup power rankings post. It's a pretty interesting read and, funny as it seems to all of us who feel anxious about the U.S. performance so far, we are the only "perfect" team in there. Go us!

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