Sport Why is Qatar playing in the Gold Cup? How Asian champs are playing in a CONCACAF tournament
Concacaf Gold Cup 2021 odds, predictions: Soccer expert reveals picks for USMNT vs. Haiti
Martin Green has generated nearly $19,000 for $100 bettors since the 2017-18 season . He has his finger on the pulse of the game all over the globe.Now, Green has taken a close look at the USMNT vs. Haiti odds and revealed his Gold Cup 2021 picks. You can head to SportsLine now to see those picks. Here are the betting lines and trends for Haiti vs. USMNT:United States vs. Haiti: USA -1.5 (-130)United States vs. Haiti over-under: 2.5 goals (over -170, under +140)United States vs. Haiti money line: USA -400, Haiti +1100, Draw +380USMNT: Sebastian Lletget has seven goals in 24 matches with the national team.
If you’re watching the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the regional championship for national teams in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, you probably did a double take after seeing Qatar in action.
Qatar, of course, plays in the Asian region and is the reigning Asian champion after winning that continental title in 2019. But as the tiny Persian Gulf nation (population near three million) gets set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, it’s trying every way possible to get its national team the best competition it can find in the hope it can have a good showing next year.
The Qataris’ Gold Cup participation fits that plan.
Five Haiti players positive for Covid before Gold Cup debut
Five Haiti players and one coach have tested positive for Covid-19 in the build up to the Gold Cup but the team's tournament opener against the United States will go ahead on Sunday, CONCACAF said. "Ahead of the start of the Gold Cup Group Stage, all competing national teams went through several rounds of testing," CONCACAF, the governing body for football in North and Central America and the Caribbean, said in a statement. "In Covid-19 testing"Ahead of the start of the Gold Cup Group Stage, all competing national teams went through several rounds of testing," CONCACAF, the governing body for football in North and Central America and the Caribbean, said in a statement.
How did the Qatar get into the Gold Cup?
The soccer governing bodies in the Asian and CONCACAF regionsin 2018 to support the growth of soccer in both parts of the world.
It was an agreement that contemplated competitive opportunities, among other things. The two regions have also committed to referee exchanges and sharing best practices around the hosting of the World Cup. Qatar hosts the event in 2022, followed by the USA, Canada and Mexico in 2026.
As part of that arrangement, Qatar was invited to participate in the 2021 and 2023 Gold Cup tournaments. It won't hurt that Qatar's invitation has also led to Qatar Airways joining on.
Homophobic fan chant at Mexico's Gold Cup matches: Here are the steps taken if it happens during a game
CONCACAF has adopted a three-step protocol established by FIFA to deal with the use of a homophobic chant by a segment of Mexico national team supporters at Gold Cup matches. In addition to ejecting fans who use the chant, the steps include pausing, suspending or even abandoning matches.The referee twice stopped the Group A match between Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago because of the homophobic chant. Stopping a match is part of a three-step protocol established by FIFA in 2019 to address homophobic and racist behavior by crowds at matches worldwide.
And it makes great sense for the Qataris, who have been on a world tour in recent years as they get set to put their best foot forward as World Cup hosts.
Why is Qatar playing in the Gold Cup?
Qatar is serious about getting games against quality opponents.
As 2022 World Cup host, Qatar automatically earns a berth to the event, but it’s still playing in Asian World Cup qualifying matches since those games also double as 2023 Asian championship qualifiers.
In addition, it’s participating as a “shadow” team in, just so it can get games against European competition. Qatar’s matches are considered friendlies and they don’t count in that group’s standings, but Qatar has fared well so far: beating both Luxembourg and Azerbaijan, and tying the Republic of Ireland (highlights below) earlier this year.
And this summer, in addition to the Gold Cup, Qatar was scheduled to play in the South American championship for national teams, the 2021 Copa America, but it withdrew earlier this year due to an apparent scheduling conflict. Qatar had already participated in the 2019 Copa America, where it played Paraguay (2-2 draw), Argentina (2-0 loss) and Colombia (1-0 loss) in the group stage.
Concacaf Gold Cup 2021 odds, picks, predictions: Soccer expert reveals best bets for Panama vs. Honduras
Martin Green has generated nearly $19,000 for $100 bettors since the 2017-18 season , and he has his finger on the pulse of the game all over the globe.Now, Green has taken a close look at the Honduras vs. Panama matchup and established his expert Gold Cup 2021 picks. You can head to SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the Gold Cup odds and betting trends for Panama vs. Honduras: Panama vs. Honduras odds: Honduras -0.5 Panama vs. Honduras odds over-under: 2.5 goals (over +130, under -160)Panama vs.
Gold Cup guest invites not unprecedented
Special guest teams at international competitions is not a new practice in global soccer. CONMEBOL, the South American soccer body, regularly invited Mexico to its Copa America and the USA participated in the Copa America in 1993, 1995, 2007 and 2016, advancing to the semis on two occasions (1995, 2016).
CONCACAF has invited teams in the past to help boost the level of world-class competition at the Gold Cup and provide quality opposition for its teams, and it started with one of the best out there: Brazil got an invite to three Gold Cup tournaments in 1996 (second place), 1998 (third place) and 2003 (second place). Other Gold Cup invitees have included Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, South Africa and South Korea.
But with the quality of its national teams improving considerably, CONCACAF moved away from the practice after 2005 and Qatar’s invitation has been the first one since then.
Gold Cup all-time guest teams
- 1996: Brazil
- 1998: Brazil
- 2000: Colombia, Peru, South Korea
- 2002: Ecuador, South Korea
- 2003: Brazil, Colombia
- 2005: South Africa, Colombia
Qatar’s schedule at the Gold Cup
Qatar, coached by Spaniard Felix Sanchez, will be playing its group stage matches in Houston against Panama (July 13), Grenada (July 17) and Honduras (July 20).
Qatar’s No. 58 world ranking is the fifth-best in the 16-team Gold Cup. Its standout players include captain Hassan Al-Haydos (above), forward Almoez Ali, who was top scorer at the 2019 Asian Championship, and up-and-coming winger Akram Afif.
There’s no doubt that Qatar, still unbeaten in 2021, will have ambitions to advance out of the group stage and perhaps make a deep run. If Qatar can finish as one of the top two teams from its group, it would advance to face a Group A opponent in the Gold Cup quarterfinals: one of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala or Trinidad & Tobago. Qatar already beat El Salvador in a friendly in the leadup to the Gold Cup.
It would probably be considered a success if the Asian champs can advance far enough to get a game against regional powers Mexico or the USA, potential opponents at the 2022 World Cup. If the matches help Qatar, they will also be useful to the CONCACAF teams that might have to face the Qataris down the line.
Concacaf Gold Cup 2021 odds, picks, predictions: Soccer expert reveals best bets for Canada vs. Costa Rica .
Martin Green has generated nearly $19,000 for $100 bettors since the 2017-18 season , and he has his finger on the pulse of the game all over the globe.Now, Green has taken a close look at the Canada vs. Costa Rica matchup and revealed his Gold Cup 2021 picks. You can head to SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the Gold Cup odds and betting trends for Costa Rica vs. Canada: Costa Rica vs. Canada: Canada -0.5 (+165)Costa Rica vs. Canada over-under: 2.5 goalsCosta Rica vs.