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Mexico prepares for crucial World Cup showdown

November 5, 2013

With an estimated 650 million dollars at stake, Mexico’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against New Zealand represent the national side’s most significant fixtures in decades.

Some 50,000 Mexico fans are expected to attend the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, providing their team qualifies, while enormous amounts of revenue generated from merchandise and advertising are also in the balance. Mexican bar owners will be praying harder than even the most dedicated fans for a favorable outcome, as they stand to win or lose small fortunes in beer sales depending on El Tri’s participation in the summer tournament.

Optimism reigned little over a year ago, when Mexico’s national soccer team beat Brazil to win gold in the London 2012 Olympic Games, and not even the most pessimistic supporters would have feared that their side might not even reach the next World Cup. Fewer still would have predicted that one of the most important games in Mexico’s history would come against such inauspicious opposition as New Zealand.

But Mexico has endured a truly torrid 2013, changing coach three times and failing to win automatic qualification for the World Cup in a group that it really should have dominated. Instead, Mexico scraped through into an additional playoff round, courtesy of arch rival the United States pulling off a dramatic late against Panama last month.

Now Mexico must overcome the Kiwis in a double-header which begins at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on Wednesday, November 13 at 2:30 p.m. and concludes in Wellington on Wednesday, November 20 (the game kicks off at midnight on Tuesday, November 19, Mexican time).

Having just won the Clausura 2013 championship with Club America, Miguel Herrera is the latest coach to be tasked with ensuring Mexico qualifies for the World Cup. Herrera has decided to base the team on his successful America side, controversially deciding to leave star players like Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Giovani Dos Santos out of the squad, as he feels they would have suffered from extreme jetlag as a result of traveling all the way from their Europe-based clubs to Mexico and then on to New Zealand.

If Mexico’s senior side is in need of inspiration, it should look no further than the youth team which beat Brazil and Argentina this week to reach the FIFA Under-17 World Cup final.

El Tri has excelled at youth level in recent years, winning the Under-17 World Cup in 2005 and 2011. Mexico will face Nigeria in this year’s final, which takes place in the United Arab Emirates on Friday, November 8 at 10 a.m. Mexican time.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 8, 2013 00:36

    They have to make it in! I don’t want Mexico to miss out on the world cup buzz! If they carry on as is though they wont be getting through the groups – no matter who they get draw against!

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