Copa America and the Euros might be over, but the CONCACAF Gold Cup is just getting started to continue the summer of soccer. Action in Group C gets underway on Monday night, including a matchup between Costa Rica and Guadeloupe. Costa Rica is heavily favored with a moneyline of -714, while Guadeloupe has a moneyline of +1900. Even a draw is listed at +660.
Gold Cup History
Costa Rica is typically a safe pick to make it out of the Group Stage of the Gold Cup. The Ticos have reached the quarterfinals of this competition in 11 straight tournaments. The last time they failed to make it out of the Group Stage was 1998, and that was when only four teams advanced to the Knockout Stage. On the other hand, Costa Rica typically crashes out in the quarterfinals, but the Ticos have an excellent record in the Group Stage of the Gold Cup.
It’s a completely different story for Guadeloupe, which is a small nation that hasn’t even qualified for the Gold Cup since 2011. In fairness, the Gwada Boys made the Gold Cup in 2007, 2009, and 2011, reaching the semifinals in 2007 and advancing to the quarterfinals in 2009. It’s not completely far-fetched that Guadeloupe can make something happen in this tournament. But unlike Costa Rica, they don’t have anyone on the roster who has played in this event before.
Costa Rica enters the Gold Cup having not tasted victory since 2019 before the pandemic. The Ticos played in the CONCACAF National League semifinals last month, losing to Mexico in penalties after a draw. They then lost to Honduras in penalties in the Third-Place Match. That was followed by a 4-0 loss to the United States in a friendly. During the latter parts of 2020, Costa Rica also suffered a pair of losses to Panama in friendly matches while also playing Qatar to a 1-1 draw, so their recent run of results has been unimpressive.
Of course, despite the absence of goalie Keylor Navas, the Costa Rica roster features plenty of experienced players. The likes of Giancarlo Gonzalez, Oscar Duarte, and Bryan Oviedo will anchor the backline. All three players are in their 30s and have combined for over 200 caps. Likewise, midfielders Celso Borges and Bryan Ruiz both have over 120 caps and 20 international goals apiece. Plus, MLS players Allan Cruz and Ariel Lassiter will help give a boost to the Costa Rica midfield. Finally, all eyes will be on former Arsenal forward Joel Campbell, who should still be very much in his prime and is poised to earn his 100th international cap and seek his 20th international goal against Guadeloupe.
The Gwada Boys
Since the start of the pandemic, Guadeloupe’s only matches were Gold Cup qualifiers in Fort Lauderdale played earlier this month. To their credit, the Gwada Boys beat the Bahamas 2-0 and then survived a long penalty shootout with Guatemala after a 1-1 draw, ultimately claiming a spot in the Gold Cup with a 10-9 shootout victory.
Naturally, the squad is lacking international experience, as no single player has more than 14 caps. Outside of a handful of players who play in the second division in France, there isn’t a ton of players who play professionally outside of Guadeloupe. However, Luther Archimedes, the 13th overall pick of the New York Red Bulls in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, is a player to watch when Guadeloupe is on the attack.
Despite their poor form in recent matches, it’s tough to envision Costa Rica losing this game. Granted, both the US and Mexico have looked unconvincing against lesser teams early in this tournament. But Guadeloupe is a minnow that will be overmatched by the Ticos. Bet on Costa Rica to win by multiple goals.