On Sunday, the US men's national team will face Curacao in the Gold Cup quarterfinals (8 pm ET | FS1, Univision, UDN).
It's not one of the USMNT's storied opponents, with a rich rivalry history. In fact, they only have played under new constitutional status as a separate constituent country since 2011. As Curacao, they've never played the United States.
So, who are Curacao?
Curacao lies near Aruba, off the coast of Venezuela. It's a Dutch Caribbean island and has a population of 160,000.
Known for beautiful beaches and expansive marine life, Curacao had been the capital of the Netherlands Antilles until that entity was disestablished in 2010. Their tropical climate stays level most of the year, temperatures usually sitting in the 80s (F). It is occasionally impacted by hurricanes, though sits outside the main Caribbean hurricane belt. The open economy relies on tourism, international trade, international financial services and more.
Best current players
Curacao, despite their small size, have multiple players in their current squad who play at the world's highest levels. Leandro Bacuna, who is the country's all-time leader in goals (10), plays for Cardiff City, who played in the Premier League last year. He also spent time with Aston Villa in England's top tier.
Cuco Martina, who is the country's all-time leader in caps (41), has also played in the Premier League, with Southampton and Everton. They have 12 players based in the Netherlands, including PSV goalkeeper Eloy Room.
How they got here
The Caribbean country qualified for the Gold Cup through Nations League qualifying, finishing fourth with a record of 3-1-0 in four matches. Once at the Gold Cup, they fell in their first game to El Salvador.
Despite that potentially disastrous result, Curacao didn't give up. They stunned Honduras with a 1-0 win, then grabbed a 93rd-minute equalizer against Jamaica, giving them four points. Honduras beating El Salvador 4-0 was enough to see Curacao into the knockout round.
Did you know this person was from Curacao?
- Andruw Jones (retired Major League Baseball player)
- Kenley Jansen (pitcher for Los Angeles Dodgers)
- Vurnon Anita (soccer player, formerly at Newcastle United)
- Andrelton Simmons (shortstop for Los Angeles Angels)
- Tania Kross (opera singer)
- Pernell Saturnino (musician)