The USMNT [United States Men’s National Team] will face Belize, Cuba, and Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July 2013. The four countries are in the Group C for this tournament.

While the USMNT is preparing for the WCQ [World Cup Qualifiers] in September, this may serve as practice for the team. The first match will be against Belize on July 9 followed by Cuba on July 13.

The last match will be against Costa Rica on July 16. What can be said about the three challengers in Group C?

What are the possibilities for the USMNT and the other teams?

Belize

Belize is currently in 129th place in the latest FIFA Coca Cola Ranking behind Puerto Rico and Botswana. The last two matches against Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago resulted in scoreless draws.

The beginning of 2013 saw Belize lose to El Salvador by one point. Belize deserves admiration for being able to participate in the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the first time in two decades.

Cuba

Cuba shares with Angola 91st place in the current Ranking behind Estonia. The match against Panama last October held in La Habana resulted in a draw.

The island nation lost its previous matches against Canada, and Honduras. The concept of world football is beginning to take hold after nearly seven decades.

Cuba participated in the 1938 FIFA World Cup and managed to defeat Romania before losing to Sweden. According to the Venezuelan multimedia organization Telesur, FIFA President Sepp Blatter visited Cuba in April 2013.

The purpose of the visit is to promote world football in a country where baseball and boxing predominates. The underwriter talked with people who visit Cuba concerning the state of world football.

They report that people support FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. The support for football in Cuba extended beyond its borders.

The Cuban Exile Community in Miami, Florida shares the same support for the two principal La Liga teams. The last UEFA Champions League finals between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund were seen on TV in both sides of the Florida Straits.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is another Group C nation [besides the USA] participating in the FIFA WCQ and Gold Cup. It is not an easy task given the recent goalless draw against Mexico during its last WCQ match.

The Central American nation is currently in 48th place behind Bulgaria and Australia in the current FIFA Coca Cola ranking. Costa Rica will be looking to avenge its loss to the USA during their first WCQ encounter in Denver last winter.

Costa Rica lost by one point to the USA in this encounter and lodged an appeal to FIFA. FIFA subsequently ruled against the appeal on a technicality of late filing.

United States

The USA is in 28th place within the FIFA Coca Cola classification. While it had a bumpy beginning in the WCQ, America managed to advance to the top.

The CONCACAF Gold Cup presents a challenge for the USA in spite of a home advantage. The USMNT must face the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the same way as the WCQ.

The opposing teams should never be underestimated since matches tend to have an element of surprise. It would be great if Landon Donovan was gradually introduced in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Donovan could provide a backdrop for a return to the WCQ this September and maybe the great event. US Manager Jurgen Klinsmann should take this into account this and next year.

Predictions

USA 2-0 Belize

USA 2-1 Cuba

USA 3-2 Costa Rica

USA and Costa Rica advance in the next round of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

CONCACAF Gold Cup Trophy You Tube Video courtesy of SNTV