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CONCACAF Gold Cup final at Soldier Field

Updated: March 13, 2013 11:01PM

The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football announced Wednesday that Soldier Field will host the Gold Cup final July 28. The announcement had been anticipated for several weeks.

The final will be the only game Soldier Field hosts. Tickets to all Gold Cup matches will go on sale at 10 a.m. local time next Thursday in all markets.

CONCACAF also announced the three groups for the 12-team tournament. Mexico, Panama, Canada and Martinique comprise Group A; Honduras, El Salvador, Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti comprise Group B; and the United States, Costa Rica, Belize and Cuba comprise Group C.

Groups were not drawn. They were selected in an effort to play nations in cities with their biggest fan bases.

The United States will play its first Gold Cup match July 9 against Belize at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Ore. The Rose Bowl will host the tournament’s opening day of games July 7 — a doubleheader featuring Canada against Martinique in the first game and Mexico against Panama in the second.

“We hope that on July 28 that we will bring greatness, grace, emotions and passions to Soldier Field,” CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb said.

For the United States, the tournament likely will serve as a barometer for its player pool.

While U.S. national-team coach Jürgen Klinsmann emphasized the importance of winning the Gold Cup, he mentioned several times that he will use the tournament to evaluate some of his players.

“It’s a great opportunity to see different players, to see where our players are in the process towards World Cup 2014, which players are stepping it up and which players are making a case for themselves to be part of the inner circle,” Klinsmann said.

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