Friday, August 23, 2013

American gold

Shortly after Brazil had moved to the top of the world rankings by toppling world champions Spain 3-0 in the Confederations Cup final at the Maracana, the United States hosted and won the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a single goal in the final against Panama who had defeated Mexico 2-1 and topped their group despite a disappointing 0-0 draw against Canada before going on to thump Cuba 6-1 and once again beating the troubled Mexicans 2-1 to reach the final. The tournament had begun with a stoppage time goal for Martinique that stunned the Canadians who crashed out with a solitary point. Trinidad & Tobago earned a 2-2 draw against El Salvador and lost 2-0 to Haiti before coming back from the dead with a 2-0 victory against group winners Honduras who knocked Costa Rica out 1-0 in the next round. Costa Rica had laboured to a 1-0 win over Belize who where comfortably beaten 4-0 by Cuba.
In mid August Russia lost a World Cup qualifier 1-0 in Northern Ireland while among friendly matches Mexico salvaged some pride with a 4-1 win over Ivory Coast in America while Switzerland celebrated a 1-0 win over their illustrious visitor from Brazil and Pakistan were beaten 3-0 away to the improving Afghanistan.