The 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup is down to its final four teams, and while many believe that another final between the US men’s national team and Mexico awaits, invited guest Qatar and upstart Canada are looking for a different narrative.

The USMNT are certainly no stranger to deep Gold Cup runs, having reached the semifinals for the 15th time in 16 editions of the confederation championship. Meanwhile, Qatar are looking to make the most of their first invite into the tournament.

The winner heads to Las Vegas for the final on Sunday. Here’s what you need to know ahead of the game.

When

  • Thursday, July 29 | 7:30 pm ET

Advertising

Where

  • Q2 Stadium | Austin, Texas

How to watch and stream

  • FS1, Univision, TUDN

What to know: United States

Survive and advance. That’s the nature of the knockout round, so it’s mission accomplished for the Group B-winning USMNT after getting a late Matthew Hoppe goal to defeat Jamaica 1-0 in the quarterfinals Sunday night.

A young, relatively untested group on the senior international level has secured three 1-0 results in the Gold Cup and conceded just once across four matches. They’re learning how to navigate through Concacaf competition, which should only benefit those who might be selected for World Cup qualifiers come the fall.

But now Qatar presents an unfamiliar foe in the semifinals.

Head coach Gregg Berhalter made just two changes to his lineup, while also shifting formation against the Reggae Boyz. No doubt the starting XI will be debated in the days to come. Should Gyasi Zardes start? How about Cristian Roldan? Reggie Cannon? There's plenty to ponder.

What to know: Qatar

Qatar are the seventh invited guest at the Gold Cup and join the likes of Peru, South Korea, Colombia and Brazil as teams to reach the semifinals. Brazil and Colombia made the final, but a team outside Concacaf has never won the Gold Cup. After four impressive performances, the Maroon could make history in Las Vegas on the weekend.

Qatar have been a fun team to watch, fitting in well with the unexpected nature of all things Concacaf. The reigning Asian Football Confederation champions have scored a tournament-high 12 goals in four matches and appeared to be well on their way to a rout of El Salvador in the quarterfinals Saturday night. They led 1-0 inside two minutes, 2-0 before the 10-minute mark and 3-0 when Almoez Ali converted a penalty kick in the 55th minute to complete his brace.

Then things got hairy.

Joaquin Rivas struck for a pair of goals in a three-minute span just past the hour mark and El Salvador had several close calls for the equalizer over a frantic, yet highly entertaining final 20 minutes. But Qatar, Group D winners, held for the 3-2 result.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising