A place in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup final was expected be on the line Thursday night as Mexico took on Canada in the semifinals at NRG Stadium in Houston, Tx.
The meeting would mark the sixth Gold Cup contest between the two nations, with Mexico owning the advantage with four wins to Canada’s one, according to CONCACAF.
However, it said that lone Canadian win also came in their only knockout round match in 2000, when Canada rallied from a late 1-0 deficit to claim a 2-1 quarterfinal win on a golden goal, in extra time, on their way to their first Gold Cup title.
“Despite a number of absences and injuries to key players, Canada marched into their first Gold Cup semifinal since 2007 with a 2-0 win over Costa Rica in the quarterfinals,” CONCACAF said.
“Head Coach, John Herdman has gotten contributions from all over the field, including big performances from Sunday’s two goalscorers, winger Junior Hoilett and MF (mid-fielder) Stephen Eustaquio,” it added.
CONCACAF said Hoilett opened the scoring against the Ticos with “a clever chip for his second goal of the tournament, while the effort of the tireless Eustaquio resulted in the second Canadian score and the third of the tournament for Eustaquio.”
Herdman would need those two players and more to step up against a Mexico team brimming with confidence, CONCACAF said.
It said El Tricolor polished off a first-place finish in the group stage with zero goals conceded, and then proceeded to take out Honduras in the quarterfinals with a “breathtaking attacking display that yielded three goals in the first 45 minutes of a 3-0 win.”
CONCACAF said forward Rogelio Funes Mori has “seamlessly fit into the offensive setup of El Tricolor Head Coach, Gerardo Martino, with three goals scored in Mexico’s four Gold Cup matches.”
“The exploits of Funes Mori, plus MF (mid-fielder) lynchpin Hector Herrera and attacker Jesus Corona will be a very sturdy test for a Canada side hoping for a repeat of their famed 2000 run,” CONCACAF said.