Friday, July 8, 2016

Caribean Cup 3rd Round predictions.

Caribbean Cup 3rd round
Oct 3rd, 6th and 9th
With the Copa America 2016  in the books…the next tournament is scheduled the 2017 Gold Cup. Unless it gets canceled. With that being said…….it is never to late to start thinking about this nice little tournament, where the USA gets to feel good about their program and play well against the minnows. The top 4 Central American nations automatically qualify and the top 4 Caribbean
nations also qualify (Along with USA, Mex and Canada). The Last tournament 2015 Gold Cup there were no new nations. French Guiana almost participated but lost in a playoff to Honduras.  The 2017 Gold cup will have at least one brand new participant which will come from the Caribbean nations. (Every country in Central America has already participated. Nicaragua  (2009) and  Belize (2013) have already participated once.)

The Caribbean Cup places the top 4 in the Gold Cup. The last 12 are broken into 4 groups of 3. The winner of these groups automatically qualify for the Gold cup. (There will be a “new” team participating for the 2017 Gold Cup, which will be exciting.) They also advance to the  knockout round for the Caribbean Cup. Old guards Jamaica and Tridnidad and Tobago are your favorites.
Group 1
  1. Jamaica
  2. Guyana
  3. Suriname
This group has the reigning champions Jamaica. They won the Caribbean Cup 3 of the last 4 tournaments. Jamaica reached the final for the 2015 Gold Cu. I see Jamaica progressing here. There are 2 quality  South American nations in Guyana and Suriname ready to prove their worth. Guyana is good at home…pounding US Virgina Isl 7-0 in the last round. Suriname also got by St Vincent's in the previous round to advance.

Group 2

  1. Haiti
  2. French Guiana
  3. St Kitts
This group has Haiti who had the bye to this round because of their ranking. Haiti has placed in the top 4 the last 2 Cups. Haiti is also, one of only 5 teams to win the Caribbean Cup. Haiti will be challenged by both French Guiana and Saint Kitts. French Guiana topped past pesky Bermuda in both the first and second rounds. They also knocked out regional power Cuba in round 1 in a surprise. St Kitts beat both Suriname and St Vincent's to advance posting shutouts in both games.

Group 3

  1. Antigua and Barbuda
  2. Puerto Rico
  3. Curacao
There are no teams who got a bye in this group. This group will place a team directly into the Gold Cup 2017. One of these nations will be making their debut in the Gold Cup 2017. I was only hoping for Puerto Rico since they have a larger population and probably would have many more fans at Gold Cup games. However I hope for a team that is fundamentally sound that can contend with the elite of CONCACAF to emerge. Antigua and Barbuda and Puerto Rico were also matched up in an earlier round 2. It took Puerto Rico Extra added time to beat both Grenada and A&B. Antigua and Barbuda however pounded Grenada 5-1 at home. Curacao received the top seed and will have the extra days rest, Curacao has the two leading scores of the tournament. The 2 massive strikers in 6’1”Gino van Kessell and  6’2” Felitciano Zschusschen both were born in the Netherlands and play in Europe. Curacao (Dutch nation) already beat Guyana 5-2, then went on and pounded US Virginan Isl 7-0 in the previous round. They are my favorite to advance here.

Group 4 preview
  1. Trinidad and Tobago
  2. Dominican Republic
  3. Martinique
   This group is like a World Cup group in the diversity of languages. T&T speak English, Dominican Republic speak Spanish and Martinique speak French. I have to say I use to hate T&T but that was because of the corrupt thief Jack Warner. T&T has won the most Caribbean Cup with 8 –however they have hosted the most with 8. Now I enjoy T&T play the beautiful game. They have big athletic players who play a tactically sound game. They are your favorites here in this group. The Dominican Republic has the 2nd highest population in the Caribbean with over 10 Million; only behind Cuba. CONCACAF wants Dominican Republic in the tournament for fan and tv viewership interest. . Dominican Republic also has many people living in the states. I would love to see them come out and cheer their team for the Gold Cup. The Dominican REp beat both Bermuda and French Guiana which is impressive. The question is,,,can they beat the perennial power of T&T in T&T.? Martinique has participated in 4 Gold Cups, making it the 5th best in the Caribbean.  So don’t count this French Island out of anything. Martinique islanders are no doubt very proud of France reaching the final of the EURO 2016 Cup. This is one tough little group to get through.

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