Weblog: The football punter
Jimenez can edge tight final for El Tri in Chicago
TV: Premier Sports 1, 2am Sunday night
A Concacaf Gold Cup final between Mexico and the United States. Now there’s a surprise.
For the 14th time in 15 runnings of the competition, either Mexico or the USA will lift the trophy, and El Tri are favourites to oblige in Chicago.
Do they deserve to be favourites? Probably, although that’s more to do with reservations over their opponents than any great euphoria about them.
The draw is plenty short enough and this probably will be a tight contest between two teams who are hard to like.
Both made light work of easy groups, as they tend to do. Then the States made a real hash of seeing off Curacao in the last eight before looking slightly better against Jamaica in the semis.
Mexico needed penalties to get past Costa Rica and an extra-time penalty from Raul Jimenez of Wolves to take care of Haiti in a dismal semi.
Mexico are a long way from full strength with several key figures not involved, while the USA are a long way from being any good, though they do have midfielders who can run the show, notably Christian Pulisic, who will play for Chelsea next season.
The USA are light up front and will be tested at the back so Mexico probably merit slight favouritism, though there’s no great desire to back them.
Their big threat comes from Jimenez. He had a terrific campaign in the Premier League and banged in five goals, so he looks a solid selection to open the scoring at Soldier Field.
R Jimenez first scorer