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Canada hammers Martinique 4-0 to begin 2019 Gold Cup

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19-year-old Gent striker Jonathan David is your trivia answer of the summer, scoring the opening goals of the 2019 Gold Cup as Canada comfortably downed Martinique 4-0 behind the youngster’s brace.

[ MORE: Ellis and USWNT not ducking France ]

The youngster scored his fifth international goal in just his fifth cap, continuing a hot start to his Canadian career. The winning moment came off a mistake at the back as Martinique goalkeeper Loic Chauvet misfired a pass to defender Daniel Herelle and David pounced, producing a delicious finish that saw him keep his cool to get Chauvet on the ground before clipping into the back of the net.

Martinique did not go down without a fight, as Kevin Parsemain missed a trio of great chances all just before halftime. The first saw him take a Kevin Fortune cross and toe-poke just wide left with the goal gaping, and moments later Atiba Harris was caught in possession leading to a Parsemain breakaway, but Milan Borjan saved low on the shot. Lastly, in first-half stoppage time, Parsemain put Canadian defender Derek Cornelius on his rear but his shot again was saved by Borjan at the near post.

In the second half Canada appeared to come out defensive-minded, and they struck on a ball over the top that completely fleeced the Martinique back line. Davis flashed by the high defensive line and latched onto the long ball from Samuel Piette, firing cooly past Chauvet yet again to put Canada up 2-0.

The floodgates opened after the hour mark, with Junior Hoilett and Scott Arfield both finding the back of the net with the Martinique back line all over the place. The rest of the match featured David going for his hat-trick, dragging a late shot wide left from distance looking for the milestone. Canada secured a solid start to the tournament just hours after the country’s women played to victory over New Zealand out in France at the World Cup.

Follow Live: Gold Cup kicks off with Mexico and Canada in action

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The 2019 Gold Cup is here, and both Mexico and Canada are in play as the tournament kicks off at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

The games mark the first round of Group A play as Canada officially kicks things off against Martinique at 7:30 p.m. ET, while Mexico takes the field at 9:30 p.m. ET.

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores ]

Canada made its way to its 11th straight Gold Cup by bulldozing the CONCACAF Nations League with a perfect 4-0-0 record and a +17 goal differential to finish atop the table along with Haiti. Martinique takes the field for its sixth Gold Cup having also recorded a 4-0-0 record in the Nations League.

Mexico, meanwhile, will see Tata Martino take charge of his first competitive match as head man of El Tri. He comes into the Gold Cup on a high, having won each of the four previous matches he has taken charge of. Mexico has high expectations for the tournament, and a big start over Cuba would set the stage.

Women’s World Cup: Netherlands, Canada both advance

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A pair of teams secured a spot in the knockout stage of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, including the first non-European team to advance past the group stage.

The Netherlands were first up, downing Cameroon 3-1 behind a brace from Arsenal forward Vivianne Miedema, making her the all-time leading scorer for the Dutch national team at just 22 years old.

Her first came just four minutes before halftime, stemming from great combination play down the right from Jackie Groenen and Shanice van de Sanden, with the latter delivering a cross to the doorstep that found Miedema who slipped in front of Christine Manie for a diving header. Cameroon equalized just two minutes later through Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene on a long ball straight down the middle, but it wouldn’t stay level much longer after the break.

Three minutes after the restart as the Netherlands worked a set-piece from the training ground, again using the right flank to work a similar cross and while Dominique Bloodworth completely whiffed on the first chance, Cameroon defender Michaela Abam also whiffed on the clear, sending the ball right back to Bloodworth for an easy follow-up.

Cameroon had a golden opportunity to draw level once again with 10 minutes to go, but a critical block by Desiree van Lunteren kept the Dutch in front and Miedema got her second and the record with five minutes remaining. On a two-on-two break, Miedema kept it herself and fired a low shot into the bottom-left corner and sealed the victory.

They only netted twice but Canada thoroughly dominated New Zealand to become the first non-European side through to the knockout stage with a 2-0 win in Grenoble. Jessie Flemming secured the win, able to find the back of the net with two of Canada’s 24 shots in the match.

The game ground to a halt 15 minutes in as Catherine Bott took a close-range cross off the right hand and was down for significant treatment before coming off. On the restart, the game jolted to life again as Christine Sinclair had a glorious opportunity in front of net but somehow the New Zealand defense combined to keep the ball from crossing the line.

Canada remained the more dangerous side through the first half-hour with the New Zealand defense barely staying alive on numerous occasions. The Ferns finally had their best chance in the 39th minute as a few bounces in midfield went their way and it created a two-on-two break, but they were unable to find a wide-open Rosie White in the middle.

After halftime, Canada seemed rejuvenated and struck just three minutes in. A long ball down the left released Nichelle Prince on the break, and she had all too easy of a cutback to Fleming waiting in the middle. Sinclair missed one just a minute later over the bar that would have doubled the lead, and Canada began to truly pour on the pressure. A fabulous header from Prince was only kept out by a stunning Erin Nayler save in the 72nd minute.

The win put Canada on six points, even with the Netherlands and behind only on goal differential, with the two set to meet in the final round of group stage play to determine the group winner. New Zealand and Cameroon are both eliminated, with either side yet to secure a point in its first two matches.

2019 Gold Cup full schedule, kick off times, venues

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Get excited. The 2019 Gold Cup on U.S. soil (with a few games in Costa Rica and Jamaica) is almost here, as 16 teams set out to be crowned the champions of the CONCACAF region.

[ MORE: Latest 2019 Gold Cup news ]

The reigning champs are the U.S. men’s national team but Gregg Berhalter’s men aren’t favorites to win the tournament this time around as Mexico, led by Tata Martino, are the bookies pick to win it all this summer. A lot has changed for the U.S. since they won it in 2017 under Bruce Arena…

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores

Watch out for Jamaica with Leon Bailey, and both Costa Rica and Honduras will be tough to get past in the coming weeks as Canada are also outside bets to have a good run in the Gold Cup with Junior Hoilett and Alphonso Davies leading their charge.

Below is a look at the full schedule for the tournament, complete with the venues being used, kick off times and the knockout round bracket as things kick off on June 15 with the final on July 7 at Soldier Field in Chicago.


Group stage

Group A
June 15: Canada v. Martinique – 7:30 p.m. ET at Rose Bowl, Pasadena
June 15: Mexico v. Cuba – 10 p.m. ET at Rose Bowl, Pasadena
June 19: Cuba v. Martinique – 8 p.m. ET at Mile High Stadium, Denver
June 19: Mexico v. Canada – 10:30 p.m. ET at Mile High Stadium, Denver
June 23: Canada v. Cuba – 6 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
June 23: Martinique v. Mexico – 8:30 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

Group B
June 16: Haiti v. Bermuda – 6 p.m. ET at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica
June 16: Costa Rica v. Nicaragua – 8:30 p.m. ET at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica
June 20: Nicaragua v. Haiti – 7 p.m. ET at Toyota Stadium, Frisco
June 20: Costa Rica v. Bermuda – 9:30 p.m. ET at Toyota Stadium, Frisco
June 24: Bermuda v. Nicaragua – 6:30 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena, Harrison
June 24: Haiti v. Costa Rica – 9 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena, Harrison

Group C
June 17: Curacao v. El Salvador – 7 p.m. ET at Independence Park, Kingston, Jamaica
June 17: Jamaica v. Honduras – 9:30 p.m. at Independence Park, Kingston, Jamaica
June 21: El Salvador v. Jamaica – 7 p.m. ET at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston
June 21: Honduras v. Curacao – 9:30 p.m. ET at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston
June 25: Jamaica v. Curacao – 8 p.m. ET at Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles
June 25: Honduras v. El Salvador – 10:30 p.m. ET at Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles

Group D
June 18: Panama v. Trinidad & Tobago – 7:30 p.m. ET at Allianz Field, Saint Paul
June 18: United States v. Guyana – 10 p.m. ET at Allianz Field, Saint Paul
June 22: Guyana v. Panama – 5:30 p.m. ET at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
June 22: United States v. Trinidad & Tobago – 8 p.m. ET at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
June 26: Trinidad & Tobago v. Guyana – 6:30 p.m. ET at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City
June 26: Panama v. United States – 9 p.m. ET at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City

Quarterfinals

June 29
Match 25: Winner Group B v. Runner-up Group A – 7 p.m. ET at NRG Stadium, Houston
Match 26: Winner Group A v. Runner-up Group B – 10 p.m. ET at NRG Stadium, Houston

June 30
Match 27: Winner Group C vs. Runner-up Group D – 5:30 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
Match 28: Winner Group D vs. Runner-up Group C – 8:30 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

Semifinals

July 2
Match 29: Winners of Match 25 vs. Winners of Match 26 – 10:30 p.m. ET at State Farm Stadium, Glendale

July 3
Match 30: Winners of Match 27 vs. Winners of Match 28 – 9:30 p.m. ET at Nissan Stadium, Nashville

Final

July 7
Winners of Match 29 vs. Winners of Match 30 – 9:15 p.m. ET at Soldier Field, Chicago

Who are this year’s World Cup dark horses?

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There’s no doubt that there are three legitimate favorites to win the 2019 Women’s World Cup; Host France, Germany, and of course, the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Behind them are a second tier of teams who could push those three for the title, including England, Japan and even Brazil if they put everything together.

[MORE: Full 2019 World Cup schedule, live streams]

But who are the dark horses, teams that could really surprise a few and make a deep run in the tournament? Let’s take a closer look, below.


Netherlands

Winners of the 2017 European Championships, the Netherlands are looking to make a splash at this year’s World Cup. It wasn’t until the mid-2000s that the Netherlands really started to invest in their women’s team (with the creation of the professional women’s Eredivisie in 2007), and it’s starting to pay dividends.

The Netherlands qualified for its first World Cup in 2015 and fell in the knockout round to eventual finalists Japan, but the team features some of the most talented players in the world. They’re led by former World Player of the Year and Barcelona midfielder Lieke Martens, while 22-year-old Vivianne Miedema has scored 45 international goals. Miedema, one of four Arsenal players in this Netherlands squad, scored 22 goals for the Gunners this past season in just 20 Women’s Super League games. Another former club teammate, Dominique Bloodworth, just signed with Wolfsburg after appearing more than 100 times for Arsenal.

Captain and goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal, also at Arsenal, has taken the position from veteran Loes Geurts and it will be interesting to see how van Veenendaal does as the new No. 1.

The Netherlands combines a strong and young squad, but a they’ll have to wait until the final group stage match to know what their road to the final will look like. Should they beat Canada and win the group, they’ll likely face either England or Japan in the Round of 16. If they finish as runners-up, the Netherlands could face the U.S. Women’s National Team or Sweden. Either way, it’s likely a tough start to the knockout round. However, this Netherlands team looks up to the challenge.

Canada

The other favorites to get out of Group E, Canada is one of the most experienced squads at this World Cup and it’s likely the last World Cup for legendary striker and national team captain, Christine Sinclair. The 35-year-old has scored more than 180 international goals and could look to break Abby Wambach’s international record of 184 international goals at this World Cup, especially if Canada makes a deep run.

Along with Sinclair, the team features veterans Sophie Schmitt and Desiree Scott, but there’s also a youth movement in the squad. Rising star, forward Jordyn Huitema, already has more than 20 caps and is still only 18 years old, while fellow teenagers Jayde Riviere and Julia Grosso also made the team.

It’s a squad that’s going to rely heavily on defending with Lyon’s Kadeisha Buchanan and Orlando Pride’s Shelina Zadorsky taking big roles at centerback. But with Huitema available off the bench for some pace up top, and Sinclair’s goalscoring ability, this team could surprise a few and make another deep run, just like at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.


Australia

Another team with one of the world’s best strikers, captain Sam Kerr may be the best in the world at her position. The 25-year-old split time between the Chicago Red Stars – scoring six goals in six games – as well as Perth Glory, with 17 goals in 13 games, so she’s clearly one of the most in-form strikers on the globe.

Lisa de Vanna could start or come off the bench in her fourth World Cup, while a mostly young backline will look to keep opponents off the board, including right back Ellie Carpenter of the Portland Thorns.

The team also interestingly features 16-year-old forward Mary Fowler, who has already made four appearances off the bench.

Australia will have a tough road into the knockout round, with Italy, Brazil and Jamaica in Group C, but if the Matildas can make it out of there, they’ll be in good shape moving forward and battle tested. The Matildas can go as far as Sam Kerr can take them, and if she keeps scoring, they can certainly go far.