FRISCO, TX (July 14, 2017) – The final day of Group A of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup was an exciting one. Costa Rica got a late blow out win against French Guiana. That put them to first in the group. French Guiana are out but they had more controversy in this game (off the field). In the night cap, Canada advanced to the knockout after an exciting 0-0 draw against Honduras. They finish second. Honduras are already a best third team, but have yet to score a goal in the tournament.
Gold Cup Group C Finish Up: Canada Advances, Honduras Shutout, And Shenanigans
Costa Rica Offensive Breakthrough And Forent Malouda Shenanigans
Costa Rica found their offense against French Guiana. They started a reserve team, but several key players got off the bench and finished it off. Ariel Rodríguez got the scoring started just four minutes in off a broken play from a corner. The marking from French Guiana was poor all game long, and Rodríguez made them play. The middle of the match slowed down, with both teams suffering from the the heat and humidity.
Los Ticos closed the game out with late goals from substitutes Rodney Wallace and Marco Ureña. Both came on the counter, with Bryan Ruiz setting up Ureña for the third goal. Costa Rica dominated the entire second half, but was helped out by a straight red card to Ludovic Baal in the 61st minute for voilent conduct. The midfielder took a swing at David Guzman after a contest for the ball at midfield.
The match ended 3-0 with French Guiana essentially giving up in the final minutes. Without several great saves by goalkeeper Donovan Léon, the scoreline could have been worse.
The big headline from this match might have been before it even started. As I’ve written about previously (here and here), French Guiana had sanctions after playing an ineligible player, Florent Malouda. The player was given a two game suspension along with a stadium ban. However, the TV broadcasts clearly showed Malouda enter Toyota Stadium and watching the game from a suit.
COCACAF could very well hand out further punishment to the former French International and the federaton. The fact that he watched the game in person after this whole fiasco is ridiculous. And very CONCACAF.
Canada Keeps Honduras Scoreless Through Group Stage
Canada and Honduras played to an exciting 0-0 draw. The first half was very back and forth, with Honduras in particul getting several good chances. Albert Elis and Marcel de Jong led the way for their teams. The two teams combined for 31 shots (10 on target), but no goals.
Goalkeepers Milan Borjan and Luis López stood on their heads throughout the match, keeping cleansheets. Both teams hit the post, but the match ended 0-0.
This result means that Honduras didn’t score a goal (other than the 3-0 forfeit from French Guiana) in the group stage. Yet they advance as a best third team out of Group A. They created enough chances to score against Canada. Elis and Romell Quioto were excellent other than not scoring. Still you have to wonder if this is getting into their heads and they just need a goal to feel better.
— Last Word on Soccer (@LastWordSC) July 15, 2017
Costa Rica has to feel good getting a result with a B team. This is a massive result for Canada getting through to the knock out round. Unless they get embarrased on Thursday (the opponent isn’t known yet), this tournament is already a win. French Guiana might be the most memorable fourth place team in Gold Cup history, for all the wrong reasons.