Heads held high
Bermuda bowed out of the CONCACAF Gold Cup with their heads held high this week. They arrived for the first time in a big tournament jointly ranked as outsiders, with Guyana.
Yet, they left with praise ringing in their ears from many commentators and ex-footballers including Warren Barton who waxed lyrical over the island’s efforts on Fox Sports.
Whilst in other groups there were many one-sided games as the larger nations turned over the smaller ones, that was not the case for Bermuda who were competitive, played smartly, defended well and created chances. Two 2-1 defeats to Haiti and Costa Rica, who have qualified for four of the last five World Cups and are ranked 3rd in the region, meant that Bermuda were already eliminated before they comfortably beat Nicaragua 2-0 in their last game to finish 3rd in their group.
In both the Haiti and Costa Rica games Bermuda dominated for long periods and with slightly more finesse and fitness, may well have seen different results than as close defeat.
Against Nicaragua on Monday two second half goals from LeJuan Simmons and Burnley’s Nahki Wells sent many hundreds of Bermudians in the crowd and Kyle Lightbourne’s squad home very happy. With the Nations League starting later in the year, they certainly have something to build on.
The last round of group games are tonight with the Curaçao being the surprise qualifiers to the quarter finals. Curaçao will play either the USA or Panama, depending on who wins that game later. The losers will meet Jamaica. Then Haiti play Canada and Costa Rica face the favourites Mexico.