Welcome to the wonderful world of summer international soccer, where boys become men and men kick a ball around for 90 minutes with little rest in between. Since most of the rest of the world plays soccer on a regular schedule (we see you, MLS), summer is the time when the internationals that play across the globe can get together and party in exotic locales like Nashville, Tennessee and Hartford, Connecticut. And really, who wouldn’t want to party in Cleveland and Glendale?
If you’re new to international soccer and specifically the Gold Cup, you’re in luck. Without further ado, we present The Daves I Know Guide to the Gold Cup. Make sure to check back in the next few days as we will preview the groups for you as well.
The fuck is a Gold Cup? It’s a soccer tournament, dummy! But it’s like, a tournament with shittier players in it. See, most of the rosters are dripping with high quality talent from the likes of the MLS, Liga FPD, LigaMX, and Supra Legia, because, let’s face it, nobody but Mexico, Costa Rica, or the US is winning this shit pile of a tournament, and also I made up that last league and you didn’t even think twice about it.
Well why the hell are they playing it anyways? Money, stupid! Because this tournament is played in the USA there is a lot of TV money to be had and you bet your ass that the greedy fucks at FIFA wouldn’t let a tournament happen without a big-ass TV contract. Plus there’s always a chance that one of Panama, Jamaica, or Honduras could make a run! But not Canada. Never Canada.
So who’s playing?
Wait, Curaçao, Martinique, and French Guiana? You’re just making up countries now, aren’t you? Sadly, no. Gather round, kids, as I tell you the story of how islands were subjugated by Europeans. All three of these squads have players that play on the European continent. Primarily the Dutch for Curaçao and the French for Martinique and French Guiana, naturally!
Ok, so how is the tournament structured then? Like all international soccer competitions, there is a group stage with three groups of four teams each. Each team plays every other team in their group one time during the group stage. The group stage is followed by an eight team quarterfinal consisting of the top two teams from each group and the best two of the remaining third place teams. This elimination style phase is called the “knockout round.”
Hold on, third place teams make it to the knockout round? Yeah dude, it’s fucking FIFA and we are not allowed to have nice things. So in a 12 team tournament only four of those teams play the minimum three games. Oh yeah, and the 2026 World Cup will do this when it expands to 48 teams. Thanks, FIFA, ya dicks!
How long is the tournament? Games kick off at Red Bull Arena on July 7th and the final will be played in Santa Clara on July 26th.
Does the Gold Cup have any other weird rules? Well, for one, MLS teams only take a break for the group stage and then they start playing matches again, right as the quarterfinals start. This means your favorite MLS players will be gone and your local MLS team will field lesser teams while the tournament is going on. Also, when teams reach the knockout round they can swap out six players from their 40-man provisional roster for the players on their 23-man roster. And the winner of this tournament will play the winner of the 2019 Gold Cup in the CONCACAF Cuppity Cup Cup Cup to see who plays in the 2021 Confederations Cup in the lovely human rights hotbed that is Qatar!
Who will win? Well, one of Mexico, Costa Rica, or the United States, for sure, but you’ll have to come back later for our group previews to learn the truth.
Any other weird shit I should know? Glad you asked! “Waidmann’s Heil” by German metal band Rammstein is the official song of the tournament. So yeah, a German song for this North American tournament. Great call, guys! “Levántate” by Mexican-American singer Gale is the official Spanish-language song of the tournament. “Thunder” by fucking Imagine Dragons is official tournament song. So that’s cool that Rammstein and Imagine Dragons are playing the theme songs of the tournament! Plus, Modelo is the official beer sponsor of the tournament.
Now you know all you need to impress the one soccer nerd at the water cooler on Thursday. Check back early next week as we will preview the groups with definitely not fake facts about countries I probably can’t identify on a map!