After nearly two years, competitive CONCACAF games, at the senior level, will resume tomorrow, June 3rd with the CONCACAF Nations League Final Four.
What is the Nations League?
In 2019, the CONCACAF federation decided to create a new international tournament called the Nations League. This new competition would provide more competitive games within CONCACAF and get rid of ‘meaningless friendlies. Similarly to the UEFA Nations League, the CONCACAF version is divided into 3 separate leagues: A, B, and C. Within these leagues there are 3-4 groups, where national teams will play in a round-robin type format to decide who finishes first, second, etc. in the group.
In addition, there’s a promotion/relegation system, where the group winners get promoted to the next league level, while the teams at the bottom get relegated to the league level below. For example, since Jamaica topped their group in League B, they will get promoted to League A next season.
If you want a more detailled explanation, here’s an 8-minute video.
The Final Four
The four League A group winners will move on to a knockout competition called the ‘Final Four’. These four nations will face in a semi-finals round, where the respective winners will face in the final. For this edition, the U.S., Costa Rica, Honduras, and Mexico were the four group winners.
The Final Four semi-final matches will kick off this Thursday, June 3rd, 2021, where both matches will be played in the Empower Field at Mile High, the stadium of the Denver Broncos. The first match will be between the USMNT and Honduras at 4:30 PM PST. Also, the second semi-final will be between Costa Rica and Mexico at 7:00 PM PST.
The semi-final winners will face this Sunday, June 6th, at 6:00 PM PST for the Nations League title, while the semi-final losers will face off earlier on Sunday, at 3:30 PM PST, for 3rd place.
Who Will Pass To the Final?
Due to their stature, the U.S. and Mexico are the favorites to pass on to the final. Despite this, we can’t count out Costa Rica and Honduras, as both have given the two giants a hard time recently.
The USMNT will try to avoid Deja vu, as the last time these nations faced, Honduras won 2-1 to keep them away from the Olympics once again. The USMNT will be grateful to use their players from abroad. Despite this, you can never count out ‘La H’ with an inspired Alberth Elis.
For the other semi-final, Mexico will try to stamp their dominance in CONCACAF and win the Nations League. They’ll first have to get through Costa Rica, who’ll hope to show everyone why they’re World Cup regulars. ‘Los Ticos’ will hope to pull an upset and win their first international trophy since 1989.
Tomorrow we will find out if we’ll have a ‘CONCACAF Clasico’, or an upset matchup for the CONCACAF Nations League.
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