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CONCACAF Gold Cup | Group Stage
Jul 12, 2021 at 3.30am UK

El Salvador
2 - 0

Roldan (81'), Rivas (90+6')
Martinez (90+2')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Alfredo Morales Concua (32'), Carlos Pinto (34')

Preview: El Salvador vs. Guatemala - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: El Salvador vs. Guatemala - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Monday's CONCACAF Gold Cup clash between El Salvador and Guatemala, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

El Salvador will look to kick off their Gold Cup campaign on a winning note when they face Guatemala in their opening fixture at Toyota Stadium in Dallas on Sunday night.

Le Selecta dropped their final tune up game last weekend 1-0 to Qatar, while Guatemala are in this competition only because Curacao were ruled out after a number of their players tested positive for COVID-19.

Match preview

Unlike most sides appearing in the Gold Cup, El Salvador decided to pay a visit to Croatia in preparation for this tournament, facing the 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar last Saturday.

Manager Hugo Perez will hope that defeat will serve as a wake-up call for his team, who will be facing some much stronger sides in this competition than they have faced throughout much of 2021.

Before their defeat last weekend, this team had rarely been tested, conceding only once in their six matches this year, winning five of those games and scoring 19 goals against the likes of Montserrat, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

With 15 players applying their trade locally in the El Salvador Primera Division, this side should have a lot of familiarity and understanding with one another on the pitch, which could come in handy in a competition like this.

Los Cuzcatlecos have finished third in the group stage of this tournament on five successive occasions, last qualifying for the knockout stage as one of the best third-place teams in 2017.

Third place will not cut it this time around, however, as only the top two teams from each group will advance to the quarter-finals, so El Salvador will be eager to earn three points versus a team who are 58 places below them in the FIFA World Rankings.

Guatemala will try to make the most of their second chance in this competition after initially being eliminated in a penalty shootout, 10-9 by Guadeloupe.

To go from all hope seemingly lost to an appearance in the region's top competition has to be a lot to handle, so interim manager Rafael Loredo will try to get his side focused.

With very little time to prepare, they will probably be happy that their first game is against El Salvador, seeing as Los Chapines played them in a friendly at the end of June in a 0-0 draw, so they might be still fresh in their memories.

Defensively, this side have been impressive in 2021 with eight clean sheets in nine games, although they have also been held off the scoreboard on two occasions.

Having been suspended by FIFA over the past two Gold Cups's, this will be their first appearance at this competition since 2015 when they finished bottom of their group with one point, but their lone draw came against the eventual champions Mexico 0-0.

El Salvador form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L

Guatemala form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L

Team News

La Selecta will be counting on striker David Rugamas to maintain his impressive goalscoring form after he notched six goals in the First Round of World Cup qualifying and another two in the Second Round.

His partner in attack, Joshua Perez, added a pair of goals in the Second Round of qualification, while their defence has been solid, led by Toronto FC centre-back Eriq Zavaleta alongside Roberto Dominguez and Bryan Tamacas.

The creativity of Seattle Sounders midfielder Alex Roldan could prove extremely valuable, as the 2019 MLS Cup champion is having a good season at club level with a goal and two assists, helping the Sounders to an undefeated campaign so far.

The Guatemalan defence of Jose Pinto, Matan Peleg, Gerardo Gordillo and Moises Hernandez will face a stiff test from El Salvador, and they might have to be even better than they have already been this year.

Midfielder Luis Martinez has goals in back-to-back games, while goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen has kept his opponents at bay with five shutouts this year.

Midfielder Marvin Ceballos may be the most excited player on the Guatemalan squad during their return to this competition, as he will get yet another reprieve after missing the first and last penalty kicks versus Guadeloupe.

El Salvador possible starting lineup:
Gonzalez; Tamacas, Dominguez, Zavaleta, Larin; Portillo; Moreno, Ceren, Monterroza; Perez, Rugamas

Guatemala possible starting lineup:
Hagen; Pinto, Peleg, Gordillo, Hernandez; Ceballos, Santis, Lom, Saravia; J. Martinez, L. Martinez

We say: El Salvador 1-0 Guatemala

They may not have faced a lot of solid sides so far this year, but that aside this might be the best El Salvador squad we have seen in quite some time, with a potent attack, who can score goals in bunches, but their defensive game is pretty good too with seven clean sheets in their last 11 fixtures.

It has been an emotional roller-coaster week for Guatemala, and their focus might not be where it needs to be after such a quick turnaround from being eliminated to qualifying out of thin air.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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