Piquionnefrederic_isi_bpi_westhamunitvbirmcity.cmhk_web Ben Queenborough/
As one of the heavy underdogs entering the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Martinique’s chances of advancing past its Group A opponents are slim. But one thing Martinique won’t be lacking in is its national support. As an official department of the French Republic, the island isn’t officially recognized by FIFA. It is, however, recognized by the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and CONCACAF and is allowed to participate in any tournaments regulated by both organizations.

So the CONCACAF Gold Cup is the largest tournament Martinique plays in. Thanks to its fourth-place finish in the 2012 Caribbean Cup, Les Matinino qualified for its first Gold Cup since 2003, when it exited early after losing both games in the group stage.

In addition, including this year’s tournament, Martinique has qualified for the CONCACAF Gold Cup only four times, with its best Gold Cup finish occurring 12 years ago, when it lost to Canada in penalty kicks in the quarterfinals. So, this year’s Gold Cup is a big deal for the Caribbean island of slightly more than 500,000 citizens.







The Coach

Head coach of Martinique since 2011, Patrick Cavelan has had previous success with this team, as he led Les Matinino to the semifinals of the 2012 Caribbean Cup. Although Martinique lost in penalties to Trinidad & Tobago, and later lost to Haiti in the third-place game, it was the team’s best finish since it came in third place in the 2001 Caribbean Cup.

The Tactics

While Martinique may not be a force in international soccer, its roster contains a few individual players who are cable of giving Canada, Mexico, and Panama trouble. A few of the players on the roster play in Martinique’s national league, Martinique Championnat National, including veteran forward Kevin Parsemain.

Several men, however, play off island. Gregory Arnolin, Yoann Arquin, and Frederic Piquionne represent Sporting Gijon, Notts County, and Portland Timbers, respectively. Martinique’s deepest position is up top, with Parsemain leading the way alongside Piquionne and Arquin. If all three forwards can play to their potential, which seems likely especially with Piquionne being in top form with the Timbers, don’t be shocked to see several cleverly crafted goals.

The History

Martinique’s best showing in a CONCACAF Gold Cup came in 2002. It finished second in group play and advanced to the knockout stage, only to end up losing to Canada in penalty kicks. Les Matinino qualified for the Gold Cup a year later, which would turn out to be its last Gold Cup appearance until its qualification this year.

CONCACAF Gold Cup Results 1991 – DNQ
1993 – Eliminated in first round
1996 – DNQ
1998 – DNQ
2000 – DNQ
2002 – Eliminated in quarterfinals
2003 – Eliminated in first round
2005 – DNQ
2007 – DNQ
2009 – DNQ
2011 – DNQ

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