Hosts United States and defending champions Mexico have emerged as the favourites to win the Gold Cup after stellar performances in the group stage. The quarterfinals of the football tournament will be played this weekend.
Mexico has won the biennial North America (CONCACAF) football championship eight times, while the United States have won the trophy six times. Except for Mexico and US, the only other team to win the Gold Cup is Canada, who won in 200.
In the quarterfinals, Mexico will be up against Honduras. Guest invitee Qatar will face El Salvador on Saturday at Phoenix. The hosts will play at Dallas on Sunday against Jamaica. The venue will also feature the QF match between Canada and Jamaica.
The United States and Costa Rica both went 3-0 in group matches while Qatar and Mexico were 2-0 with a draw.
In their three group matches, Mexico did not concede a single goal, a first in the Gold Cup. They beat El Salvador 1-0, Guatemala 3-0 and played Trinidad and Tobago to a goalless draw.
El Tricolor only allowed a total of eight shots on goal by opponents in three matches.
"The positive thing is that we made seven points, they didn't score goals against us," Mexico coach Gerardo Martino said.
The Americans too enter the quarterfinals in red hot form. They demolished Martinique 6-1 and edged Canada and Haiti each by 1-0. Coach Gregg Berhalter though wasn't impressed with the performances and said that the side 'didn't do their best'. Berhalter also bemoaned the lack of urgency to score.
Qatar, the 2022 World Cup hosts, will continue preparing for next year's global showdown against El Salvador.
"The players have shown great responsibility and professionalism," said Felix Sanchez Bas, Qatar's technical director.
"The Gold Cup has been a good experience and we are satisfied with what we have done so far."