Revamped tournament a ‘celebration of football’ – CONCACAF

Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF)  has announced the full schedule for this year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will mark the zenith of the confederation’s 60th-anniversary celebrations.

The main showpiece will run from July 10 to August 1 but will be preceded by a new preliminary round qualifying tournament, which will run from July 2-6, and determine the last three spots in the opening group stage.

Eleven stadiums across the United States will host the 16th edition of the tournament which will conclude with a grand final at the newly built US$2 billion Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, which was opened last year.

“We are extremely pleased to confirm the schedule and venues for this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, which promises to be a celebration of football in our great region,” said CONCACAF president, Victor Montagliani.

“2021 is CONCACAF’s 60th anniversary year and we look forward with great anticipation to watching the best men’s national teams in our confederation compete for the Gold Cup title.

“With an exciting new format and the prospect of welcoming passionate fans to the stadiums for these compelling match-ups, I can’t wait for the football to begin on July 2nd and to crown a champion in Las Vegas on August 1st.”

This year, AFC Asian Cup Champions Qatar will participate in the tournament as the guest nation, joining the other 15 confederation teams which earned qualification.

Caribbean side Curacao will raise the curtain on the championship when they clash with Central American nation El Salvador at Toyota Stadium in Dallas in a Group A fixture while in the headliner, reigning champions Mexico take on a yet-to-be-determined qualifier from the preliminaries at AT&T Stadium also in Texas, also in Group A.

French Caribbean side Martinique will feature in Group B alongside 2019 losing finalists the United States and Canada, along with a yet-to-be-determined qualifier.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz, losing finalists in 2015 and 2017, will clash Costa Rica and Suriname along with another qualifier in Group C while Group D will see Grenada take on Honduras, Panama and Qatar.

Several Caribbean sides including  Trinidad and Tobago, will be among 12 nations battling in the preliminaries at the DRV PNK Stadium, Fort Lauderdale for the three remaining spots in the main draw.