- Mexico win their eighth regional title
- Defending champions USA come up just short
- Haiti the surprise packages
Mexico’s ambitions were clear heading into the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup: to win the title again after losing in the semi-finals two years ago. They achieved that objective on Sunday, defeating hosts USA 1-0 in the final.
Despite the scoreline, the match was an exciting affair and produced plenty of goalmouth action. Both keepers were in fine form, however, and it took a stunning 73rd-minute strike from Jonathan dos Santos to settle the game in El Tri’s favour.
FIFA.com rounds up the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, reserving special attention for its leading protagonists.
The champions: Mexico
Pitching up with some new names and young players, Mexico showed that they are taking the ideas of coach Gerardo Martino on board and are making smooth progress. Undefeated throughout the three-week tournament, the Mexicans were buoyed by the performances of Uriel Antuna and Rodolfo Pizarro, who brought fresh ideas up front. And whenever the going got tough, seasoned performers such as Andres Guardado and Guillermo Ochoa – the hero of the quarter-final penalty shootout against Costa Rica – played crucial roles in seeing the team over the line.
The runners-up: USA
USA are going through a transitional phase but have plenty of reasons to be excited about the future. The Stars and Stripes’ new-look squad came very close to retaining the title, having played a pragmatic and organised brand of football founded on a solid defence. Providing the creative inspiration further up the pitch was Christian Pulisic, who was named the tournament’s best young player, while the likes of Jozy Altidore provided the experience.
Losing semi-finalists: Haiti and Jamaica
Haiti have shown in recent times that they can compete at every age level and went into the tournament with expectations high. Well organised and full of energy, the Haitians topped Group B ahead of Costa Rica, knocked out Canada in the quarter-finals and took Mexico to extra time in the semis. Meanwhile, Jamaica confirmed that their run to the final two years ago was no fluke and won Group C at the expense of teams such as Honduras and El Salvador. After seeing off Panama in the last eight, the Jamaicans saw their run end against the hosts in the semis.
“I told the players that if they imposed our style of play, it would definitely give us a better shot of winning the title. We won playing our way, especially in the second half, and we were brave, and we did all this in a final. Those are the things that stand out, along with some of the things the young players did and the performances of players who aren’t regular starters.”
Mexico coach Gerardo Martino
Player of the tournament: Raul Jimenez
⚽️ Leading goalscorer: Jonathan David (6 goals)
Best goalkeeper: Guillermo Ochoa
Best young player: Christian Pulisic
Fair play award: USA