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GoldCup matches other than Canada (bittorrent)


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Thursday and Friday's Gold Cup matches are now available.

USA VS Guatemala by Brain26 and El Salvador vs Trinidad and Tobago by yours truly.

Both are here

Mexico vs Cuba is available at the above link

If you don't know the result, don't read any further

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High-stakes summer

Mexico faces three key future-shaping tournaments

Posted: Friday June 8, 2007 2:47PM; Updated: Friday June 8, 2007 3:25PM


This summer Mexico will compete in three important international tournaments spread out across the Western Hemisphere.

While the senior team will contest the CONCACAF Gold Cup the first part of June and Copa America shortly thereafter, the 2005 Under-17 world champions will try to match their own success at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada beginning June 30.

Each tournament is unique and will present different challenges, but the trio's importance can be sorted out quickly:

1A. Gold Cup

1B. Copa America

1C. Under-20 World Cup

For Mexico, one tournament is more important than another only because it comes first on the calendar. Anything short of hoisting a trophy at the end of each tournament and El Tricolor will have fallen short of expectations.

Gold Cup glory eluded Mexico last time, in 2005, but now the tournament has a bit more significance. This year's winner will book passage to the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, which could help Mexico measure itself against world powers in a World Cup-like setting. That's exactly what happened in 2005 when Mexico participated in the Confederations Cup. Games against Brazil, Argentina and Germany went a long way toward helping Mexico prepare for the 2006 World Cup, and also provided players such as Alberto Medina, Carlos Salcido and Ricardo Osorio invaluable international experience that continues to pay off.

Failing to win the Gold Cup would also set a bad precedent for coach Hugo Sanchez. The most vocal critic of the previous regime, Sanchez has had seemingly unchallenged support from El Tri's ardent supporters and the demanding Mexican media. However, Sanchez's predecessor, Ricardo Lavolpe, did win his first official tournament as Mexico coach when Daniel Osorno scored an extra-time goal in a 1-0 victory against Brazil in the 2003 Gold Cup final.

The Gold Cup trophy, though, was the only one Lavolpe added to Mexico's mantle in his tumultuous four-year reign. In fact, Mexico regressed under Lavolpe, failing to win a knockout game in the 2004 Copa America, the 2005 Confederations Cup and Gold Cup and the 2006 World Cup.

Still, Lavolpe never lost a game in Estadio Azteca, with the only blemish on his 8-0-1 record a scoreless draw against Honduras in the 2003 Gold Cup. Sanchez, on the other hand, is 0-1 as El Tri boss in Mexico's intimidating palace after losing to Paraguay 1-0 on Tuesday. A Mexico loss in Azteca is rare indeed -- it's only happened twice since 1981.

While Mexico does not enter the Gold Cup in peak form, it needs to win to lay the foundation for Sanchez's main goal of becoming world champion. If Mexico can win the Gold Cup, that result surely would breed a much-needed winning mentality. Anything short of that and Sanchez's collar will likely feel a bit tighter.

Copa America, meanwhile, will give El Tri a chance of making history. Mexico has reached the final on two previous occasions but has yet to win the tournament.

At the club level, Mexican side Pachuca finally broke through the South American barrier by winning the 2006 Copa Sudamericana title. The national team, however, faces far more rigorous challenges, not the least of which is an opener against Brazil on June 27.

But Mexico has beaten Brazil (as well as Argentina) in Copa America before. Such wins are proof that Mexico can pull out results against South America's best on South American soil. Winning a final, though, is another matter altogether.

Failure in either the Gold Cup or Copa America will give Sanchez trouble instilling his winning mentality in tournaments. Mexico likely won't play in another tournament until 2009. Though El Tri has been successful in World Cup qualifying since 1994 -- Mexico has qualified for the last four World Cups as either the first- or second-place team in CONCACAF -- winning knockout games has not come easy. El Tri has won only one elimination game in its World Cup history.

By 2009, the plan is likely to have players from this year's Under-20 team as part of the senior side. Youngsters like Giovani Dos Santos and Carlos Vela have been slapped with collective can't-miss labels after they captured attention in Mexico and across the world with their triumphant performance at the Under-17 World Championships in Peru two years ago. Now as Under-20s, the up-and-comers are carrying not only national pride but also future hopes.

In one giant swoop this summer, Mexico can instill a winning mentality under a coach who has spoken about little else, and continue to develop talent that one day might reach unprecedented heights. Or El Tri could walk away without any hardware to add to its collection.

Thus, in many ways, the next three years hinge on the following six weeks.

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