Canada and Panama to challenge Concacaf’s old order at CNL finals in Vegas

March 29 – Canada and Panama will complete the line-up for the four-team Concacaf Nations League finals in June, both teams winning their final group games against Honduras and Costa Rica to secure their places in the Las Vegas finals.

This is the second edition of the Concacaf Nations League and will be the first finals appearance for both Canada and Panama, who join Mexico and current champions USA in the final four.

In 2021, both Honduras and Costa Rica qualified for the finals.

In a region traditionally dominated by the US and Mexico, with Costa Rica generally coming a close third in terms of performance, this edition of the CNL reflects a real challenge to the old order within Concacaf that has building over recent seasons.

Mexico and the US only secured their places in the finals in the final round of group games with Mexico securing a 2-2 draw against Jamaica after having twice been behind, while the US, who had called their big names players from Europe back to ensure qualification, still only just squeezed past challenger El Salvador 1-0.

In the semi-finals Mexico will face the US, whilst newcomers Canada and Panama will face off. There will be no ‘traditional’ US vs Mexico final – the showpiece game that concluded the Gold Cups in 2019 and 2021 as well as the 2021 CNL. The semi-final draw was made according to rankings from the CNL group stage.

Canada and Panama make the grade

Panama went into their final group match away to Costa Rica a point ahead of Ticos who needed a win to qualify.

The first half saw few scoring chances for either side. Chasing a win in the second half Costa Rica began to apply pressure but Panama had other ideas, securing their finals place when Edgar Barcenas crossed to Jose Fajardo who volleyed home for a 1-0 win.

Canada went into their final game level on points with Honduras. The Canadians have promised a lot over the last three seasons but have failed to fully deliver.

Keen to put a disappointing World Cup behind them, they put in an emphatic 4-1 winning performance against Honduras – putting a marker down for expectations of bigger things to come in the CNL finals and the Gold Cup that follows.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1681806739labto1681806739ofdlr1681806739owedi1681806739sni@n1681806739osloh1681806739cin.l1681806739uap1681806739