The link? The one and only Dwight Pezzarossi. One of "those" infamous Sam Allardyce signings (I'm thinking Akin Bulent, Blessing Kaku and Djibril Diawara) in 2004, he went on to score a mind boggling 0 goals in 0 appearances for the Wanderers. Signed on a season-long loan from Communicaciones in Argentina (whom he began his career with and subsequently re-signed for them four times) after scoring 12 goals in the 2003-04 season, El Tanque became the first (and to my knowledge only) Guatemalan player to ever play in England's top flight.
A work permit was not required due to Pezzarossi's Italian passport. Upon signing, he said "I just want to concentrate on doing well in training and showing what I can do. I hope I will get my chance and then we will see how things go from there". We didn't see much. Anything, for that matter.
Textbook obscure football trivia - Dwight Pezzarossi is now the Guatemalan Minister for Culture and Sport.
Anyway. Gold Cup.
Manager: Ivan Franco Sopegno
Sopengo is a 51 year old Argentinian former goalkeeper with an overwhelmingly unspectacular career in Argentina, Peru and Guatemala. He became the national coach in 2014. Pezzarossi Watch: he coached The Tank at Comunicaciones in two spells between 208-11 and 2012-13. He has won 5 Guatemalan League titles, and is rumoured to have left in disgust after Pezzarossi's retirement at the tender age of just 35 (citation needed).
Key player: Angelo Padilla
OK, he has only played 4 times for Guatemala, and may not even make the final 23-man cut. But something make me stop as I hovered over the completely unrecognisable list of names. Angelo Padilla (unattached). The man is without a club team. He left Carmelita of the Costa Rican League after 7 goals in 21 games. 1 in 3. Gary Madine prays for that sort of ratio. So let's get Padilla club. I think he might be willing to make the drop down to League 1's Wigan Athletic (I love saying that) if the money is good enough.
Full squad: (initial 35 man roster)
GK (5) – Victor Ayala (Antigua GFC/Guatemala); David Guerra (Comunicaciones/Guatemala); Ricardo Jerez (Alianza Petrol/Colombia); Paulo Motta (Municipal/Guatemala); Juan Jose Paredes (Comunicaciones/Guatemala)
DF (10) – Carlos Castrillo (Comunicaciones, Guatemala); Stefano Cincotta (Chemnitzer/Germany); Carlos Gallardo (Comunicaciones/Guatemala); Moises Hernandez (FC Dallas/USA); Wilson Lalin (Comunicaciones/Guatemala); Deniss Lopez (Municipal/Guatemala); Rafael Morales (Comunicaciones/Guatemala); Ruben Morales (Comunicaciones/Guatemala); Jose Pinto (Municipal/Guatemala); Elias Enoc Vasquez (Real Salt Lake/USA)
MF (14) – Jorge Aparicio (Comunicaciones/Guatemala); Gerado Arias (Petapa/Guatemala); Marvin Avila (Municipal/Guatemala); Jose Contreras (Comunicaciones/Guatemala); Brandon De Leon (Comunicaciones/Guatemala); Jose Del Aguila (Comunicaciones/Guatemala); Carlos Figueroa (Comunicaciones/Guatemala); Alejandro Galindo (Antigua GFC/Guatemala); Kendel Herrarte (Comunicaciones/Guatemala); Jonathan Marquez (Comunicaciones/Guatemala); Carlos Mejia (Comunicaciones/Guatemala); Marco Pappa (Seattle Sounders/USA); Aslinn Rodas (Xelaju MC/Guatemala); Sergio Trujillo (Municipal/Guatemala)
FW (6) – Jairo Arreola (Comunicaciones/Guatemala); Edgar Chinchilla (Antigua GFC/Guatemala); Minor Lopez (Atlético CP/Portugal); Nelson Enrique Miranda (Comunicaciones/Guatemala); Angelo Padilla (unattached); Carlos Ruiz (Municipal/Guatemala)
Chances of winning:
It will be a dog fight between them, Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago for second place, and third might even be enough. So Guatemala might have a chance of progressing.
I don't think Mexico will be losing any sleep over Guatemala or their other group opponents for that matter.