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Ranking the Gold Cup quarterfinalists; New front-runner?

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No pats on the back for correctly selecting the Gold Cup quarterfinal field — well, maybe a little pat… it was almost to a T, after all — as PST correctly tabbed the absurd 8 of 12 nations to move onto the knockout rounds.

But the United States men’s national team threw the proverbial spanner in the works when it comes to our knockout round predictions by calling up CONCACAF killer Jozy Altidore as well as Michael Bradley, Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, Darlington Nagbe, and Jesse Gonzalez.

Canada improved as well, while Mexico decided to make no changes to its squad. That means you should make no mistake about it: The Yanks’ status as stuttering group stage side just turned into tournament favorites.

[ MORE: USMNT stock up, stock down ]

Canada’s draw with Costa Rica stopped our predictions from being spot-on — joking aside, it’s pretty easy to select the field — but would we make any other changes given the group stage? Let’s see.

8. El Salvador — A scrappy bunch that could’ve given the U.S. B-Team a hassle, it won’t be able to handle Altidore, Dempsey, and Bradley.

7. Honduras — Didn’t score a single goal aside from their awarded 3-0 win over French Guiana.

6. Canada — This is where the difference in win probability between sides gets razor-thin; Inexperience has us pegging the Canucks just behind their quarterfinal foes.

5. Jamaica — On the flip side of Canada, running to the 2015 Gold Cup final while knocking off the USMNT will have the Reggae Boyz feeling okay.

4. Panama — Allowed just two goals in the knockout rounds, including a relatively dominant performance against the U.S., and was the only team to shutout Kevin Parsemain and Martinique.

3. Costa Rica — Tabbed before the tournament as a possible first time winner, allowed just a single goal to Canadian phenom Alphonso Davies.

2. Mexico — El Tri is El Tri, even as a B Team, and will like avoiding Costa Rica and the U.S. until the final.

  1. USMNT — Should be able to clinch the first of two lottery chances at being CONCACAF’s representative in the 2021 Confederations Cup.

WATCH: Spurs’ Son scores sensational consolation goal for South Korea

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South Korea has not had a good World Cup, but the Taegeuk Warriors have a fine goal for their tournament highlight reel.

[ RECAP: Mexico 2-1 South Korea ]

Tottenham Hotspur star Heung-Min Son was frustrated by Mexico’s stifling defense for most of the day, but El Tri had little hope of stopping his stoppage time stunner.

Son took a lay-off and then used a pick into his yard of space to rip into a shot in the third minute of extra time.

South Korea must hope for Germany to beat Sweden, then for Mexico to beat Sweden while it beats Germany and builds goals for tiebreakers.

As unlikely as that is, at least Son had this moment.

Lozano, Vela keep Mexico rolling

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Mexico is nearly onto the knockout rounds with plenty of time to spare.

Carlos Vela converted a PK and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez also scored in a 2-1 win over South Korea on Saturday in Rostov-on-Don.

Heung-Min Son buried a shot in stoppage time for South Korea’s goal.

El Tri got another decent performance from Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, who also scored Mexico’s goal in a 1-0 win over Germany.

A Swedish win or draw against Germany at 2 p.m. ET moves Mexico onto the knockout rounds.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

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A handball allowed Vela his chance from the spot, and Mexico had its lead after 26 minutes.

Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa made several decent stops for Mexico in the win, though South Korea were admittedly wasteful in the final third.

Lozano then cued up Mexico’s insurance goal from Chicharito, who danced around a defender before bounding a ball home.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

Son scored a beautiful goal in the third minute of stoppage time to put South Korea on the board.

Hazard hails red-hot Lukaku after Belgian blowout

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Belgium was lethal for the second-straight game, mostly doing as it wished in toppling Tunisia 5-2 in Moscow.

The win comes on the heels of a 3-0 defeat of Panama, and “Big Rom” has been the man for the Red Devils.

[ RECAP: Belgium 5-2 Tunisia ]

Romelu Lukaku has four goals in two games, and was a force against Tunisia. His two-goal performance could’ve been four, the highlight a perfectly-timed run to chip home his second off a feed from Thomas Meunier.

Eden Hazard also scored twice, once from the penalty spot, and he marveled at his mate.

“It’s easy to play with Romelu Lukaku, pass him the ball and he scores every time. He was fantastic.”

Belgium advances to the knockout rounds, and will face England in its final match (likely with the group on the line). The winner of the group gets the runner-up of Group H with Japan, Senegal, Poland, and Colombia, and the second place team plays the winner.

“This game we won so we are happy today. We played well and scored five goals. We conceded two, we can improve on that but now we enjoy the next four days and then we play England for the top of the group.”

The England-Belgium match is Thursday in Kaliningrad.

Hazard, Lukaku help Belgium to rout

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Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard each scored a pair of goals and Michy Batshuayi also scored as Belgium clobbered Tunisia 5-2 in Moscow on Saturday.

Dylan Bronn and Wahbi Khazri scored for Tunisia.

Belgium leads the group ahead of England’s Sunday match against Panama.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Romelu Lukaku led an early break that led to a Thomas Meunier shot collected by Tunisian keeper Farouk Ben Mustapha.

Eden Hazard won a penalty in the fifth minute, just inside the 18. He converted the chance low and to the right of Ben Mustapha.

Ben Mustapha was fortunate when Hazard’s 12th minute shot of a terrific Lukaku pass was substandard.

Lukaku then scored a beauty in the 16th minute, sent into the 18 by Dries Mertens, when he clinically slid a shot inside the far post.

Tunisia got a surprise answer a minute later, with three goals gracing the games first 18 minutes. Bronn turned a free kick past Thibaut Courtois and into the back of the net.

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Belgium was knocking on the door for most of the half, and a wobbly Kevin De Bruyne missed Lukaku with a stoppage time cross which should’ve led to a third.

Lukaku got his third courtesy of Meunier a moment later.

Hazard scored his second after the break, and Youri Tielemans assisted Batshuayi’s marker to round out the scoring for Belgium. Ex-Sunderland man Khazri scored late for Tunisia.