Gold Cup groups, schedules unveiled at Levi’s Stadium

Media from around the world gathered at Levi’s Stadium Tuesday morning for the unveiling of group and match schedules for the 14th edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Among notable individuals in attendance were CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani, San Francisco 49ers president Al Guido and San Jose Earthquakes president Dave Kaval.

Announced were the participating countries in the Gold Cup, placement for each of the three groups in the tournament, and finally where each game of the tournament will be played.

Group A (Death Group)

Top seed of Group A is Honduras, which achieved its group seeding by winning the Copa America Centenario tournament in 2017. This placed the national team as the third-highest seed in Gold Cup tournament. It is their thirteenth appearance in the Gold Cup, missing a bid in 2002.

After a quarterfinals appearance in the 2014 World Cup, this is Costa Rica’s twelfth qualification for the tournament and adds a challenging opponent to group A.

After failing to qualify in 2015, 2017 will mark French Guiana’s first appearance in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Rounding out Group A, Canada was announces as the only North American country in the grouping. Canada — who took home the title in 2000 —  is the only team besides the United States and Mexico to win the Gold Cup Tournament.

The CONCACAF Gold Cup Tournament kicks off July 7 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. when Honduras takes on Costa Rica. French Guiana follows, as they are scheduled to take on Canada on the same day.

The next round of Group A play will begin on July 11 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, where Costa Rica is scheduled to play Canada and Honduras is set to face French Guiana.

The final round of group play for Group A takes place at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on July 14, when Costa Rica takes on French Guiana and Canada faces Honduras.

Group B

The United States will be the top seed of Group B in the 2017 Gold Cup. As one of only three different winners of the tournament, the United States failed to reach the finals of the 2015 edition of the competition. In redemptive fashion, the U.S. hopes to reach this year’s final match, and should have a much easier path compared to those in Group A.

Panama was revealed to be the second participant in Group B. The two time runner-ups of the tournament (2005, 2013) took losses in each respective finals to the United States.

Next to be unveiled was Martinique. The second Caribbean participant of this year’s Gold Cup has participated in five previous editions of the tournament, reaching the quarterfinals in 2002.

The final member of Group B was announced to be the winner of the Haiti and Nicaragua play-in series. The teams will play two games — on March 24 in Haiti and in Nicaragua on March 28. The winner of the series will round out Group B.

Group B play is scheduled to begin on July 8 in Nissan Stadium in Nashville, where the U.S. will take on Panama and Martinique will face the winner of Haiti/Nicaragua.

Stage two of Group B play will take place on July 12 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. as Panama will play Haiti/Nicaragua and the U.S. Will face Martinique.

The final stage of group play will be held at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland as the United States will play Haiti/Nicaragua and Panama will play Martinique.

Group C

2015 Gold Cup champions Mexico will head Group C. As defending champions, Mexico is the No. 1 seed of the tournament. As the most-decorated team in Gold Cup history, Mexico has taken home a CONCACAF record seven Gold Cup titles.

Next up to be announced was El Salvador. In its tenth Gold Cup,  El Salvador was the fourth Central American team to qualify for the 2017 Gold Cup.

The Caribbean nation of Curacao was the third team to be announced as members of Group C. Set to play in the Caribbean Cup finals in June, Curacao was the second-to-last Caribbean country to draw.

The final country to be announced was Jamaica. Set to play fellow Group C member Curacao in the Caribbean Cup finals, the Jamaica has qualified for their tenth appearance at the Gold Cup. The team had its best showing in their Gold Cup history in 2015, placing as runners-ups to Mexico.

Stage one of Group C play on July 9 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Curacao will face Jamaica and Mexico will take on El Salvador.

The second round of group play will take place on July 13 at Sports Authority Field in Denver, as El Salvador will play Curacao and Mexico will take on Jamaica in a rematch of the 2015 Gold Cup final.

The last day of Group C play will be held at Alamodome Stadium in San Antonio, where Jamaica will play El Salvador and Curacao is set to face Mexico.

Bracket Play

After group play, the top two seeds of each group as well as the next two top performers from  the three groups will start a bracket-style stage of the tournament.

Quarterfinals begin on July 19 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia and July 20 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz as follows:

Wednesday, 7/19 QF1: 1A v 2B, QF2: 1B v 3A/C

Thursday 7/20 QF3: 1C v 3A/B, QF4: 2C v 2A

After the conclusion of the quarterfinals, the semifinals will be played on July 22 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas and on July 23 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

The finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Wed., July 26.