Mexico and Panama booked their places alongside the U.S. and Jamaica in the semifinals of the Gold Cup to be played at the Georgia Dome on Wednesday.
After wasting numerous chances, Mexico benefitted from a dubious penalty call in the final minutes of extra time to dispatch Costa Rica 1-0 on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J. in the final quarterfinal game. Mexico forward Oribe Peralta appeard to dive in the penalty box, but the referre judged he was fouled and Andres Guardado buried the penalty kick into the corner to push “El Tri” into the next round.
Panama dispatched Trinidad and Tobago 6-5 in penalty kicks in Sunday’s first quarterfinal after the two teams finished regulation tied at 1.
The U.S. destroyed Cuba 6-0 in the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup on Saturday and will play in Atlanta for the first time since 1977. They will face Jamaica, which edged Haiti 1-0 late Saturday. The U.S., the tournament champ when it was last played in 2013, is supposed to play in the 6 p.m. game, according to the tournament bracket. The second game between Mexico and Panama will start at 9 p.m.
More than 51,000 tickets have been sold for the semifinals, putting it on pace to break a sales record for soccer in Atlanta. The previous record of 68,212 was set last year when Mexico played Nigeria at the Dome.
The championship will be played on Sunday in Philadelphia.
Should the U.S. win, it will earn a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. Should the U.S. not win, there will be a one-game playoff for the spot in the eight-team Confederations Cup.