After the frantic final minutes counted down, the split points left the Trinidad and Tobago squad, as well as Guatemala’s, eliminated. Despite the elimination, both teams can be proud of their effort.

After an injury during warmups, Trinidad and Tobago were forced to adjust their lineup, replacing defender Neveal Hackshaw with Jelani Peters.

In the 12th minute, T&T right back Alvin Jones rampaged up the field on a quick counterattack then crossed to Reon Moore. Moore made a run on the right side of the goal and hit a hard, low shot past young Guatemalan goalkeeper Kenderson Navarro that found the goalpost and bounced in for the goal.

Attempting to manage the game, Trinidad and Tobago showed patience, especially in allowing Guatemala to take rushed shots from outside, but closing them down effectively and at times physically when any players entered the box.

In the second half, as Guatemala fought harder to find the equalizer, Trinidad and Tobago’s defense cracked under the pressure from Guatemala in the 77th minute, when Ceballos served in a corner kick. Gerardo Gordillo rose high in the box to meet the ball, heading it in well past Marvin Phillip, the Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper and captain.

The tenor of the game changed as both teams, hungry for an outright win, traded half-chances on both ends of the field. T&T's Jones had a shot go off the post in the best possibility for either team.

After the frantic final minutes counted down, the split points left the Trinidad and Tobago squad, as well as Guatemala’s, eliminated. Despite the elimination, both teams can be proud of their effort.

Trinidad and Tobago manager Angus Eve, the team’s most-capped player in their history, knew the team didn’t completely control its destiny in Group A but believed his squad could hold their head high no matter the outcome if they played well.

“We are very confident,” Eve said.

The team rewarded his belief, playing a smart match to hold an early advantage for most of the game. Yet Guatemala was brave in its own right, fighting back to find an equalizer and ensure they left the Gold Cup with at least one positive result. As Guatemala’s coach, Rafael Loredo said before kickoff, “If we want to grow, we need to have international competition.”

It is both sides' participation and matches like this that make the Gold Cup special.

 

Guatemala are a step closer to the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup group stage after posting a 4-0 victory against Guyana in the First Round of the 2021 Gold Cup Prelims on Saturday night at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Haiti will take on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala faces Guyana while Trinidad and Tobago will go up against Monserrat when Round One of the preliminaries of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup kicks off on July 2 and 3 at Inter Miami CF Stadium in Florida.

Cuba will tackle French Guiana, Guadeloupe will battle The Bahamas and Bermuda go up against Barbados in what will be the first time ever that the competition will have preliminaries that will see three teams qualify for the 16-team Group Stage.

“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.”

“We look forward to hosting the Gold Cup Prelims tournament in our stadium,” said Inter Miami CF 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 sports-centric region would be attractive for global teams and competitions. This is just the beginning of the great things that lie ahead.”

Round Two will begin on July 6 when the winner of the Haiti/St Vincent clash will take on the winner of the Bermuda/Barbados matchup. The winner of the Guatemala/Guyana encounter will play the winner of the Guadeloupe/Bahamas match. And finally, the winner of the Cuba/French Guiana match will tackle the winner of the Trinidad and Tobago/Montserrat clash.

The winning nation in each of the three Round Two matchups will advance to the Group Stage of the 2021 Concacaf 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 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup group stage will kick off on July 10 and run through August 1, 2021, and will feature 16 national teams, of which Canada, Costa Rica, Curaçao, El Salvador, Grenada, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, eight-time and defending champion Mexico, Panama, Suriname, six-time champion the United States, are already qualified to the group stage of the tournament. Additionally, Qatar has been invited to the tournament as the current champion and representative of the Asian Football Confederation.

The remaining three countries will qualify through the Gold Cup Prelims, in which 12 Member Associations will compete for the final three spots, to be played July 2-6- at Inter Miami CF Stadium in South Florida.

 

 

St Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, The Dominican Republic and Guatemala opened their World Cup qualifying campaigns with victories on Wednesday night.

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