CONCACAF Nations League will have more than just World Cup qualifying implications for Canada’s men’s national team.
Officials announced Wednesday that the inaugural competition will serve as a qualifier for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
In a release, CONCACAF unveiled the new qualification process, which will see sides qualify via three lots in the sub-divided, three-tiered tournament, set to kick off this week:
- Top two teams from each group in League A (eight teams)
- Group winners in League B (four teams)
- Winners from Gold Cup Qualifiers (four teams)
The 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup Qualifiers are set to be played across two rounds in March and June 2020. Round 1 will see four League C group winners play four League B runners-up in a home-and-away tie. Round 2 will see first-round winners face the four third-placed teams from League A.
Canada – in Group A, League A – will qualify for the 2021 Gold Cup if they finish above either Cuba or the U.S. in their three-team group, set to be completed next month. If Canada finishes third, they would play in the aforementioned Round 2 qualifier against either a League B and League C team in June for a spot in the tournament.
CONCACAF also announced the Nations League Finals, set to be competed between the four group winners in League A, will now take place in June rather than March 2020.
The Nations League – split into three tiers, A, B, and C – is a new international tournament that replaces international friendlies and adds meaningful competition in-between FIFA World Cup Qualifying fixtures. The four group winners in League A will play in the aforementioned Nations League Finals. Teams at the bottom of League A and League B will be relegated to League B and League C, respectively. Winners of League B and League C will be promoted to League B and League A, as well.
Canada will kick-off their CNL campaign with a back-to-back against Cuba, starting Saturday at BMO Field (8:00 p.m. ET/OneSoccer) before a neutral venue tilt on the Cayman Islands on Tuesday.
After the Cuba matches, Canada will face the United States in a pair of Group A contests, Oct. 15 in Toronto, and Nov. 15 on the road at a site yet to be determined.