During any tournament, their will always be successes and failures. This depends on performance, expectations and results, so it varies for each team.
The best way to compare each team: a list, 1-12, taking into account only the games that took place on the field. Otherwise Belize would be number one.
1. UNITED STATES (3-0-0, 9pts, 1st Group C) - Three games, three wins. Jurgen Klinsmann is bringing in the big boys in defense for the knockout rounds. Landon Donovan is back. This is where you'd expect the USA to be and, while there is some room for improvement, their 8-game international winning streak speaks volumes to how from this team has come since that opening WCQ loss at Honduras.
2. PANAMA (2-0-1, 7 pts, 1st Group A) - Certainly their win against Mexico is the most impressive of the tournament in my opinion and their defense has been stout throughout, but their lack of offense is troubling. Parking the bus against Canada aside, they needed an 85th minute penalty to beat Martinque, meaning they've gone two full games without scoring on the run of play.
3. EL SALVADOR (1-1-1, 4pts, 3rd Group B) - Don't call me crazy, I think El Salvador's been one of the most consistent teams in the tournament. It took Honduras until stoppage time to score and Rodolfo Zelaya has been one of the best players in the tournament.
4. TRINIDAD & TOBAGO (1-1-1, 2nd Group B) - Okay, so they're not the most consistent, but they are dangerous offensively. Kenwyne Jones is going to have to come up big against Mexico if T&T are going to advance.
5. MEXICO (2-1-0, 6pts, 2nd Group A) - That opening game loss to Panama was not what El Tri needed to start their Gold Cup campaign. They recovered nicely to win their next two games but the expectations are still to make the finals, anything short of that will be a failure.
6. COSTA RICA (2-1-0, 6pts, 2nd Group C) - Like Panama, they haven't scored on the run of play in two games (own goal vs. Belize, shutout vs. USA) and that 3-0 win vs. Cuba seems ages ago. That 5-4-1 formation is killing their offensive players players like Alvoro Saborio and Jario Arrieta.
7. HONDURAS (2-1-0, 6 pts, 1st Group B) - They should have dominated Group B. Instead, they get an early gift vs. Haiti, scored at the death vs. El Salvador and completely FUBAR'd the game vs. Trinidad. I had them penciled in to the semifinals before this tournament started but Costa Rica isn't exactly an easy draw and they haven't impressed much so far.
8. CUBA (1-2-0, 3pts, 3rd Group C) - Give them credit, they knew they needed a big win over Belize and they went out in the late stages against a 10-man defense and did just that. Ariel Martinez's hat trick will go down in Gold Cup lore as well Yenier Marquez's goal that put Cuba into the quarters.
9. MARTINIQUE (1-2-0, 3 pts, 3rd Group A) - Martinique was on the cusp of qualification before Cuba's dramatic comeback. Fabrice Reuperne's goal vs. Canada however will a highlight we will see for years to come.
10. HAITI (1-2-0, 3pts, 4th Group B) - Haiti had their moments, and a draw vs. El Salvador would have put them into the quarterfinals, but they'll remember this tournament for their woeful finishing.
11. BELIZE (0-3-0, 0pts, 4th Group C) - They had their moments in the group stages, scoring against the USA and pitching a shutout vs. Costa Rica, own goal aside. Certainly would have liked a better result against Cuba, but their goalkeepers as a unit deserve a mention in the all tournament team (Shane Orio, 8 saves vs. USA; Woodrow West 5 saves vs. CRC, 11 vs. Cuba).
12. CANADA (0-3-0, 0 pts, 4th Group A) - Jump off the bandwagon now. That was as dismal a performance as I've seen by any team in any tournament.
Disagree with the rankings? Leave a comment and discuss below.
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