Canada will renew its rivalry against the United States in the group stage of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.
The official draw for next summer’s Gold Cup took place in Miami on Monday evening, with Canada being selected to play in a first-round group alongside the U.S., Martinique, and one of Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Bermuda, or Barbados.
Canada defeated the U.S. 2-0 last October in Toronto in Concacaf Nations League play, a result that marked the Reds’ first victory over the Americans since 1985. The U.S. won the rematch 4-1 against Canada the following month in Orlando.
The U.S. is 23rd in the current FIFA world rankings. Canada is 73rd.
“It will be an exciting year for international soccer with both FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the Concacaf Gold Cup across a couple of months,” Canadian coach John Herdman said in a media release.
“We have to prepare and prioritize FIFA World Cup qualifiers, but our players will certainly circle the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup group match against (the U.S.) because our rivalry was really ignited during Concacaf Nations League in Toronto.”
Twelve nations have already qualified for the Gold Cup via the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League, including Canada. 2022 FIFA World Cup host Qatar, who are also the reigning Asian Cup Champions, will compete at the Gold Cup as an invited guest.
The remaining three spots at the 16-nation tournament will be filled during the Gold Cup prelims, which will be hosted by the U.S. next July. Twelve nations will compete in the prelims: Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cuba, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Montserrat, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Here is how the 16-team field at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup was divided up during Monday’s draw in Miami:
GROUP A: Mexico, El Salvador, Curaçao and Prelim winner #6
GROUP B: United States, Canada, Martinique and Prelim winner #7
GROUP C: Costa Rica, Jamaica, Suriname and Prelim winner #8
The top two teams in each group at the Gold Cup advance to the quarter-finals.
Mexico is the defending champion, and will be looking to extend its record of eight tournament championships.
The 2021 Gold Cup was originally slated to take place from July 2-25, but was later pushed back to run from July 10 to August 1. Host cities have yet to be determined.
Canada bowed out of the last summer’s Gold Cup in the quarter-finals, dropping a 3-2 decision to Haiti. The Reds also reached the quarter-finals in 2017 after three consecutive group-stage exits (2011, 2013 and 2015).
Canada reached the semifinals in 2002 and 2007, with its best showing coming in 2000 when it won the tournament by defeating Colombia in the finals.