Hallgrimsson pleased with Gold Cup draw
Jamaica placed in Group A with USA, Nicaragua and the winners of a preliminary-round play-off
Taking a glass-half-full approach, national senior men’s head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said that facing reigning Gold Cup champions the United States in the group stage can be beneficial as they will be able to gauge themselves against the best in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup.
Jamaica were paired in Group A with the United States, Nicaragua and the winners of a preliminary-round play-off as the 2023 Gold Cup draw took place from Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles, California, which will host the final later this summer.
It will be the first time since 1993 that the Reggae Boyz will face the United States in group play, a group that they would both advance from and progress to the semifinals.
While Hallgrimsson said that he would prefer not to face the reigning champions immediately, he is pleased with Jamaica’s draw, believing that there is also an advantage in getting to play the United States this early.
“I think the group is fairly decent. Of course, you would always like to avoid playing the highest rank team in the group phases. The USA are the most likely winners as the highest ranked in the region and also current champions,” Hallgrimsson said. “Of course, you would like to avoid playing in a group with them but it is good as well to measure yourself with the best.”
Hallgrimsson was cautious in assessing Nicaragua, who he believes cannot be taken lightly as the two countries have split their two all-time meetings.
“I don’t know much about them but in the past, Jamaica have struggled to get results so they are tricky opponents,” Hallgrimsson said.
Jamaica’s final opponents will be either French Guiana, St Kitts and Nevis, Curaçao or Sint Maarten, as they will contest the preliminary rounds of the Gold Cup. Hallgrimsson said that the scouting begins now as they plan their path to a deep run in his first continental tournament with Jamaica.
“There are four teams that we need to scout. We need to look at all four of them now and as their play-off continues we can strike out some of the work that we have done. But we start now to prepare and analyse the teams that we could face,” Hallgrimsson said.
Jamaica have been to the Gold Cup finals twice, in 2015 and 2017, and have made it to the quarterfinals in each of the last four editions of the Gold Cup.
Meanwhile, in the other groups, Mexico face a tricky road having been drawn with Haiti, Honduras and guest country Qatar. Costa Rica will face Panama, El Salvador and a preliminary round play-off winner while Canada will face Guatemala, Cuba and the final preliminary round play-off winner.
Full Gold Cup Draw
Group AUSAJamaicaNicaraguaWinner of Preliminary round play-off 9
Group CCosta Rica PanamaEl SalvadorWinner of Preliminary round play-off 8Group DCanadaGuatemalaCubaWinner of Preliminary round play-off 7