Mexico and Qatar booked their semifinal places at the 2021 Gold Cup on Saturday, as El Tri thrashed Honduras and the 2022 World Cup hosts held off a furious comeback attempt by El Salvador.
[ MORE: 2021 Gold Cup hub ]
Mexico 3-0 Honduras
Ah, it would appear the real Mexico has arrived just as the Gold Cup knockout rounds begin.
It was the ease with which Mexico seemingly shifted from first to fourth gear in the blink of an eye, after sleep-walking through the group stage and leaving plenty of doubt over their status as Gold Cup favorites, that was at least a little bit terrifying from a USMNT perspective. Or, perhaps it’s the fact that Mexico are 360 minutes into their Gold Cup campaign and are yet to concede a goal.
Either way, the goals started raining down in the 26th minute, and Mexico let it pour for 12 minutes. Rogelio Funes Mori, Jonathan dos Santos and Orbelin Pineda got the goals for El Tri.
Up next for Mexico is a semifinal clash with the winner of Canada – Costa Rica (Sunday, 7 pm ET) on Thursday in Houston.
Qatar 3-2 El Salvador
Over on the USMNT’s half of the bracket, guest competing nation Qatar continued to outperform expectations by reaching the semifinals with a narrow win over El Salvador.
Almoez Ali struck to give Qatar the lead after 94 seconds and Abdulaziz Hatem doubled the advantage six minutes later. It was begin to look as though Qatar would stroll into the semis, and that was before Ali converted from the penalty spot for 3-0 in the 55th.
Alas, El Salvador had other ideas as Joaquin Rivas hit back twice in the 63rd and 66th minutes. Rivas looked to have pulled El Salvador level in the 72nd minute, but the FC Tulsa striker was ever so slightly offside as he made his run in behind.
Qatar will now face the winner of the USMNT – Jamaica in the fourth and final quarterfinal on Sunday (9:30 pm ET).
Latest USMNT news
2021 Gold Cup: How to watch USMNT – Jamaica, Canada – Costa Rica,… MLS schedule 2021, odds, how to watch Ranking which U.S. cities should host 2026 World Cup
Gold Cup: Mexico thrashes Honduras to reach semis; Qatar bounces El Salvador (video) originally appeared on NBCSports.com