To most onlookers, CONCACAF seems like a two-nation outfit. The prevailing thought seems to be that whatever way you rank them, the U.S. and Mexico are the two best nations in CONCACAF followed distantly by Costa Rica and then the rest of the muck that infests this region.
There is some truth to that. Mexico has been in 13 World Cups and has qualified for each of the last four. The U.S. has been in each of the last five, and unless the rules for qualification change soon it's difficult to imagine either country not qualifying for a World Cup anytime soon.
Thus, on the eve of the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, it would seem like almost a foregone conclusion that the U.S. and Mexico will meet in the final. But history suggests otherwise.
The U.S. and Mexico met in the Gold Cup final in 1993 and 1998.
The U.S. and Mexico did not meet in the Gold Cup final in 1991, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2005.
While this region might be a two-headed monster, that doesn't always translate into the Gold Cup. Keep that in mind before making plans for a US-Mexico final in Chicago on June 24.