There will be no easing into the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup for the Canadian men’s soccer team.
Canada will open the 12-team tournament June 7 in Detroit against the United States. The Americans are the highest ranked team in the conference and are 18th in the FIFA world rankings. By contrast, Canada is 84th in the world and eighth in the conference.
Canada and the United States are joined in Group C by Panama (67th in the world, sixth in the conference) and non-FIFA member Guadeloupe.
The top two teams are guaranteed quarter-final berths and the third-place team could also get into the final stage of the tournament.
The tournament will be played at locations throughout the United States. Canada’s other round-robin games are June 11 in Tampa, Florida, against Guadeloupe and June 14 in Kansas City against Panama.
The final is set for June 25 in Pasadena, California.
Canada won the Gold Cup in 2000, beating guest Colombia 2-0 in the final. Since then, both Mexico (2003, ’09) and the United States (2005, ’07) have each won twice.