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2024 CONCACAF W Gold Cup: how does it work and which teams have qualified?

The CONCACAF W Gold Cup kicks off in 2024: here is all the information you need.

The CONCACAF W Gold Cup kicks off in 2024: here is all the information you need.
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Football never stops. Ever. The sport has become the lifelong equivalent of a sleepless night; the ticking clock first annoys you, then some unreachable animal outside the window starts to make a noise before your phone lights up just as you begin to fall asleep. In the same way, just as the feeling of ‘no football’ creeps in, so does a various organisation to tell you you’re wrong. There’s no sleep time for you. Just more football. I suppose it’s a good thing then that we love it.

Women’s football is seeing the same increase in their matches played as the sport continues to grow. The Arnold Clark Cup is a mid-season international tournament, squeezed into a gap that would call an electron fat in the European calendar.

Gianni Infantino wants a World Cup every two years and next week he’ll probably blame the divine creator for putting life on Earth and not Asteroid 1997 AE12, which has a rotation period of 1880 hours. That’s 11 Earth weeks per day. Or 1232 matches per day.

And now we have the CONCACAF W Gold Cup, which will be celebrated in 2024; here is all the information on how it works:

The United States Women's National Team celebrate after winning the 2023 SheBelieves Cup.
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The United States Women's National Team celebrate after winning the 2023 SheBelieves Cup.PATRICK T. FALLONAFP

In 2021, CONCACAF released a statement with the announcement of a new, revamped tournament, the W Gold Cup. “Through these new competitions”, the statement said, “Concacaf will more than double the number of official senior women’s national team matches compared with the previous cycle of women’s national team competitions.”

When will the tournament be played?

The tournament will be played by 12 teams in June 2024 in the United States.

Who will play in the tournament?

Eight CONCACAF national teams will qualify for the tournament, joined by four guest teams from CONMEBOL.

How is qualification structured?

For this part, (almost) everything is nicely split into groups of three. Now it’s time to hold my hand and come down the rabbit hole with me.

The so-called “Road to CONCACAF W Gold Cup”, will begin with the group stage, and will feature 33 CONCACAF national teams split into three leagues (A, B, and C). Each league will have three separate groups, containing three teams each in League A, and four teams each in Leagues B and C. Each team will play against each other once in their mini groups within the larger league structure. The top three teams in the Groups within A will qualify directly for the tournament.

The three group runners-up of League A and the three League B group winners will participate in a play-in in April 2024 to compete for the remaining three places.

The two CONCACAF teams that qualify for the 2024 Olympics will not have to compete in the qualification round and will pass directly to the tournament.

So, that makes 8 teams plus the 4 guests from CONMEBOL. It wasn’t too hard, was it?

Who are the CONMEBOL teams that have qualified?

The USWNT have qualified as the host of the tournament, as have the winners of the Copa América Femenina, Brazil. The runners-up, third place and fourth place, Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay are also set to take part in the tournament.

How does the tournament itself work?

It’s a lot more straight-forward than qualifying. There are 4 groups and the top two teams will qualify for the quarter-finals, as well as the two best-placed third-placed teams in the groups. From then, it’s the usual knockout format: quarter-finals, semi-finals and final to decide the winner.

“This is a milestone moment for our Concacaf W strategy, and I am hugely excited by the prospect of launching these new Concacaf women’s national team competitions. I strongly believe they will provide a development pathway for all of our Member Associations, while at the same time creating strong and competitive finals events to showcase the very best of women’s national team football in our region,” said CONCACAF President and FIFA Vice President, Victor Montagliani.

Brazil and Barcelona's Geyse fights for the ball during the 2023 SheBelieves Cup match between Canada and Brazil.
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Brazil and Barcelona's Geyse fights for the ball during the 2023 SheBelieves Cup match between Canada and Brazil.SETH HERALDAFP

The full explanation of the format of the tournament, as per the Concacaf website, is as follows:

Group Stage – FIFA windows of September, October, November 2023 (and April 2024 Play-In)

  • Concacaf national teams* will be split into groups within three leagues;
  • Home and away matches will be played within league groups;
  • The three top league group winners will qualify directly to the Finals event in Summer 2024;
  • The second league group winners and runners-up from the top league will have an opportunity to compete in a Play-In to qualify for the Finals;

*The Concacaf women’s national teams which compete in the Summer 2024 Olympic Games will not compete in the group stage and will receive a bye directly to the Finals.

Centralized Finals Event – June 2024

  • The Finals of the 2023/24 Concacaf women’s national team competition will consist of 12 teams split into three groups of four, including:
  • The two Concacaf national teams which compete in the 2024 Olympic Games (they receive a bye directly to the Finals of this competition);
  • Six Concacaf national teams which qualify through the Group Stage and Play-In;
  • Four guest national teams from other Confederations;
  • After single round-robin play, the three group winners, the three group runners-up, and the two best third-place finishers will qualify for the knock-out stage which will consist of quarterfinals, semi-finals, and a final.

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