2024 W Gold Cup Final: Brazil vs. USA primer, stats, narratives & more

From headlines to finer details; here is everything you need to know about Sunday's Gold Cup final between Brazil and the USA.

2024 W Gold Cup Final: Brazil vs. USA primer, stats, narratives & more
The slightly diminutive but alluring W Gold Cup trophy || Courtesy of Concacaf

Alright, we made it. It's cup final day — one more evening of chaos. This is it, don't get scared now.

Breathe in that sweet sweet air of expectation. Revel in the daydreams of fans, who are contemplating whether 'this could be our year?'

Where to watch

On Sunday, the 10th of March, it's USA vs. Brazil in the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup final. Watch in the United States in English on Paramount+ and in Spanish on ESPN Deportes and ESPN+. Kick-off is 8:15 p.m. U.S. ET.

If you're not in the U.S. here's. your guide:

What are we playing for?

After a two-decade hiatus, the W Gold Cup is essentially a continental title (albeit with two continents this time around). It's a no-brainer that the tournament should be the biggest trophy available in the North American, Central American, and Caribbean regions. Akin to winning the African Cup of Nations, Asia Cup, Copa America, or Euros.

Some may view this tournament as a glorified warm-up for the upcoming summer Olympics but I think it is so so much more than that.

Courtesy of Concacaf

In terms of hardware, one does get an actual cup to thrash about. Which is nice. It means that whichever lucky squad prevails on Sunday will get to fill the thing up and sling back some delicious champions' bevies directly from the trophy.

Whilst the W Gold Cup itself does look quite small, and cliche, I am partial to its unique rose gold sheen. The trophy appears classy. Atop a nice plinth. Gleaming, unlike many others I've seen. The original colouring and chrome-like appearance definitely makes up for the basic shape.

Formations, lineups

Brazil has used a 3-4-3 in every match since its opening tilt with Puerto Rico. So, the expectation will be that head coach Arthur Elias sticks with his preferred shape. As numbers push forward, the Selecao's high press, which pins the opposition in their third, has been a resounding success.

Who plays in that formation, though, is quite the mystery. Elias has yet to name the starting XI more than once, with plenty of tinkering going on between games. Especially in the midfield and attack.

The only real constant has been defender Rafaelle, on the left side of the back three, and goalkeeper Luciana. Elsewhere throughout the team, he's experimented with different combinations.

Seven of Brazil's squad plays their club football in the United States' NWSL. Their familiarity with the tournament hosts could be something that Elias wants to lean on.

Unfortunately for Brazil, Rafaelle is expected to miss Sunday's final according to Brazilian outlet Fut das Minas. The Orlando Pride defender fractured her foot in training. A big loss.

READ MORE: Did Brazil just make themselves front runners?

Brazil's Victoria Yaya (16) dribbles the ball in during the semifinal rainy San Diego | Courtesy of Concacaf

USA interim head coach Twila Kilgore started off the tournament by trialing a pass-heavy 3-2-4-1 formation. But, for the Quarterfinal and Semifinal, the Americans reverted to a pragmatic long-ball 4-2-3-1, while also naming an unchanged starting XI in back-to-back outings.

Considering how strenuous those matches were, it would be quite shocking if Kilgore didn't make any changes.

In the attack, 19-year-old Jaedyn Shaw, who was removed at halftime of the semifinal win over Canada, which was settled via a penalty shootout, has made herself the first name on the team sheet for the U.S.

Captains Alex Morgan and Lindsey Horan would be surprise omissions. Likewise the indomitable centreback Naomi Girma and semifinal hero goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

There are no suspensions or injuries in the USA squad.

The USA SF starting XI getting drenched during the anthem in San Diego | Courtesy of Concacaf


All stats per Wyscout

The South Americans edge the statistics heading into final day. Although, there's not a lot in it. The goal tally, and chance creation, are almost identical, but the USA has been slightly more profligate in front of goal.

It seems that defensively speaking, Brazil has been notably better during the tourney. Not only have the Americans conceded four times as many goals, but their expected goals conceded is around double of the Selecao too.

Numbers aren't everything. As good as Brazil has been at the back, there are certainly questions about ball-playing shot-stopper Luciana's ability to make big saves. Albeit, she hasn't been tested much just yet.

What they're saying

"It's a very big responsibility, right? But it's a good responsibility, right? Personally, I have been preparing myself since I was a child. It's a dream to wear this national team shirt," Gabi Nunes opening up about what it means to play for Brazil in a cup final.

"He [Elias] brought this formation to us, where we are all important, both for attacking and defending," she also talked about the Brazil coach's tactics, emphasizing his focus on high-pressing.

"He brought this function there for the attackers, not just for me, but for everyone who plays in that role, to have this responsibility of neutralizing some players. This is the biggest importance that he conveys to us. We have to concentrate because it's not easy. He tells us to have a lot of communication and responsibility when doing this role."

Gabi Nunes talking to the press on Saturday

“I should know firsthand that San Diego is going to show up, it’s a great opportunity to have not only the USA in a final, but it’s also cool for us to play here for the national team," USA forward Shaw, who plays her club football for the San Diego Wave, spoke about what it means to play the Gold Cup final in her home stadium.

“It’s helped me have that balance from learning from that last game and moving forward to that next opponent, flipping the switch. It’s a new game, it’s a new day," she also answered a question on how she feels about the pressurized environment.

"I’ve always loved the pressure, it’s a real cool opportunity to have pressure, and that’s a good thing. This will be the first final in my professional career, club, or country, so, it’s really cool for me to be here and have this jersey on. I always have fun with the pressure.”

Jaedyn Shaw speaking to the press on Saturday


For both these nations the 2024 Gold Cup has been a bit of a cultural reset. They both had nightmarish World Cups last summer and swiftly parted with their respective head coaches in the aftermath.

For Brazil, the project under Elias feels further along by the sheer fact that he is in the building and working closely with his players. The same cannot be said for incoming USA head coach Emma Hayes.

The Selecao needed a glittering display at a tournament and they got one. Even more impressive is how versatile the team has looked. There has been an atmosphere of development throughout, and therefore in some ways, the pressure is off heading into the final. They appear primed to compete for a medal in Paris.

Kilgore has done an admirable job steering the team through choppy waters, utilizing different tactics, and expanding the player pool. The Mexico defeat was abysmal, but she and her players bounced back. Even in imperfection, the tournament has been somewhat of a success.

There's still some tension regarding who should be in the USA's 'Best XI' and what style of football they will play. But some of the ghosts of 2023 have been vanquished.

Of course, losing a trophy on home soil will sting. Sunday is a huge test, with many eager to see how the USA matches up against the world's best. People await to see if the Mexico humbling was a one-off.


Over the years, the Americans have had a significant advantage. Their first-ever match-up was in 1986. And, in 39 total meetings, the USA has won 31 and drawn five, with Brazil picking up just three victories.

It has been 10 years since the South Americans got the better of the four-time World Cup winners. For Brazil, the most unforgettable result was a 4-0 win in the semifinals of the 2007 World Cup. All of the Selecao's wins over the Americans have come outside the United States.

We've also got a repeat of the inaugural 2000 W Gold Cup final. That match, played at Foxboro Stadium, in Massachusetts, finished 1-0 to the USA. Tiffeny Milbrett scored the winner, just before halftime, to break Brazilian hearts.

There have also been two Olympic finals involving the USA and Brazil (2004 and 2008). On both occasions, the Americans were left standing on the tallest podium parading a goal medal around their necks.

It's been just over a year since the last time we saw Brazil and the USA go head-to-head. At the 2023 SheBelieves Cup, the Stars and Stripes won 2-1.

Since then, the Selecao lost the Finalissima to England via a penalty shootout at Wembley Stadium. At the 2023 World Cup, under Pia Sundhage, Brazil failed to make it out of the Group Stage.

The United States also put in their worst-ever showing at the 2023 World Cup, exiting at the Round of 16 to Sweden, via a penalty shootout.