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Costa Rica games to mark Gold Cup’s first step into Central America

The Gold Cup will be held in Central America for the first time next year after the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) announced that Costa Rica will host two games during the 2019 edition of its showpiece national-team tournament.

The Estadio Nacional in San Jose will stage a doubleheader, featuring the home nation, on June 16.

Next summer’s expanded Gold Cup, set to commence on June 15, will be the largest in history. Alongside the group stage doubleheader in Costa Rica, 15 US metropolitan areas and one yet-to-be-announced Caribbean venue will host matches.

Concacaf first announced that the biennial Gold Cup would increase, from 12 to 16 teams, in February. Since the inaugural Gold Cup in 1991, matches have been staged in the US for every edition, while Mexico has hosted games on two occasions, 1993 and 2003. Canada also held contests in 2015.

“We are very proud to bring the Concacaf Gold Cup to Costa Rica, where fans have shown great excitement, passion and love for our game,” Concacaf president Victor Montagliani said. “By hosting our premier competition in Central America, we are achieving a core principle of our ONE Concacaf Vision, which is to increase access to the game, develop football and ensuring our fans experience the highest quality of football in the region.”

Concacaf Council vice-president and Costa Rican Football Federation (Fedefutbol) president Rodolfo Villalobos added: “This announcement is part of our efforts to transform the federation into a highly professional entity and a benchmark at the regional level. It is part of the constant and planned efforts to grow our football.”