South Florida soccer fans are in for a busy, exciting July 4 weekend as the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup Preliminary Round will feature 12 national teams playing at Inter Miami Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
Among the teams participating July 2-6: Haiti, Cuba, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas, and Guadeloupe.
The 12 nations will compete for the final three spots in the Gold Cup Group Stage, which kicks off July 10 and runs through Aug. 1 at various locations.
“We look forward with great anticipation to this summer’s Gold Cup, which will undoubtedly be enhanced by this new preliminary round,” said CONCACAF president and FIFA vice president Victor Montagliani. “The past year has been very challenging in our region and our thoughts are with all the communities that have suffered. We hope the opportunity to watch the best men’s national teams in CONCACAF compete in our flagship tournament can provide fans with some hope and enjoyment.”
“All 12 of the competing nations in the prelims will get a full Gold Cup experience at the excellent Inter Miami facilities and we look forward to a great set of games.”
The teams will be able to train and compete at a central location as Inter Miami Stadium has 18,000 seats and is adjacent to the club’s 50,000 square-foot training facility, which includes seven fields.
“We look forward to hosting the Gold Cup prelims tournament in our stadium,” said Inter Miami managing owner Jorge Mas. “Our facilities in Fort Lauderdale were built with the intent of giving our fans opportunities to enjoy the world’s game knowing that our vibrant culture and sportscentric region would be attractive for global teams and competitions. This is just the beginning of the great things that lie ahead.”
The first-round matchups on July 2-3 are: Haiti vs St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Match 1), Guatemala vs Guyana (Match 2), Trinidad and Tobago vs Monserrat (Match 3), Cuba vs French Guiana (Match 4), Guadeloupe vs Bahamas (Match 5), Bermuda vs Barbados (Match 6).
The six first-round winners will qualify for the second round and will play on July 6 as follows:
Matchup #7: Winner Match 1 vs Winner Match 6
Matchup #8: Winner Match 2 vs Winner Match 5
Matchup #9: Winner Match 3 vs Winner Match 4
The winning nation in each of the three Round 2 matchups will advance to the group stage of the 2021 Gold Cup, where they were drawn into Group A, B and C as follows:
Group A: Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao, and Winner Prelims 9
Group B: USA, Canada, Martinique, and Winner Prelims 7
Group C: Costa Rica, Jamaica, Suriname, and Winner Prelims 8
Group D: Honduras, Panama, Grenada, and Qatar.
The Gold Cup group stage will kick off on July 10 and run through August 1. Qatar was invited to the tournament as the current champion and representative of the Asian Football Confederation.
Details for the Preliminary Round, including game times and ticket information, will be announced in the coming weeks.