Mexico mathematically qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup after Friday’s 1-0 win against Panama, but El Tri will look to maintain first in the Hex – and their unbeaten record – when they travel to Costa Rica this Tuesday.
The Ticos are currently in second place in the Hexagonal standings with 14 points – three behind Mexico – and they also picked up an important win on Friday, when they beat the U.S. 2-0. They would mathematically clinch their own spot in Russia with a victory on Tuesday; they can also clinch with a draw if Panama fails to win.
Mexico remained unbeaten in World Cup qualifying and mathematically guaranteed their spot in the 2018 World Cup in Russia with a 1-0 victory against Panama on Friday night. The loss saw the Canaleros drop into fifth in the Hex.
The first half saw El Tri dominate possession but fail to do much with it. José Calderón had little to do in goal for Panama as Mexico struggled to put their chances on frame. Halftime rolled around with the game still 0-0 and with antsy fans beginning to whistle and boo.
Mexico is unbeaten in World Cup qualifying and they’ll look to continue that streak when they host Panama in the Estadio Azteca this Friday. El Tri currently tops the Hexagonal with 14 points from six games, and a win against Panama could seal their spot in next summer’s event, depending on the result of Trinidad and Tobago vs Honduras.
As for Panama, they currently sit fourth – in the intercontinental playoff spot – with seven points. The Canaleros have scored just four goals in their six games to date, and they’ll be facing the stingiest defense in this one; Mexico has allowed just two goals in the Hex, both against the United States.
Ahead of September’s World Cup qualifying games, Mexico has launched another campaign in an attempt to quiet the homophobic goal-kick chant that is ubiquitous in its stadiums.
With the general “Abrazados por el Fútbol” (Embraced by Soccer) campaign, and the “Ya Párale” (Stop It Now) campaign – aimed specifically at ending the now infamous chant – not having an apparent effect, the newest effort is #GritaMéxico (Shout “Mexico”).
Momento de demostrar que tenemos la mejor afición…
The roster is missing some familiar names, with Oribe Peralta and Carlos Salcedo injured and Rafa Márquez dealing with his legal troubles. Miguel Layún, who is having trouble finding minutes with Porto, is also a notable absence. On the other hand, Jesús Manuel Corona is back on the roster after “Tecatito” missed the Confederations Cup for personal reasons.
After a surprise loss to Jamaica in the semifinals of the 2017 Gold Cup, Mexico will now look ahead to the resumption of World Cup qualifying in September.
El Tri was eliminated in the semifinal round of both of their summer competitions, the Confederations Cup and the Gold Cup, and playing in both tournaments meant Juan Carlos Osorio had to make some difficult roster decisions to balance Mexico’s commitments.
FIFA has released the latest list of sanctions for incidents in recent 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, and, as has become customary, Mexico is once again present due to homophobic chanting.
The latest round of disciplinary action was announced on Thursday, with Mexico receiving 10,000 Swiss Francs in fines plus a warning for “improper conduct among spectators (homophobic chant)” for each of their June qualifiers: June 8th against Honduras and June 11th against the United States.
Mexico remained unbeaten but left fans frustrated as they came from behind to draw 1-1 with the United States on Sunday night.
The quick turnaround, with this game moved up due to Mexico’s upcoming participation in the Confederations Cup, resulted in a number of changes to both starting lineups. Nevertheless, the game started at a high intensity and there were a number of fouls in the opening minutes. Carlos Salcedo was perhaps lucky to remain on the field after nailing Bobby Wood with an elbow during a 3rd minute aerial challenge.
Then, in the 6th minute, Michael Bradley silenced the crowd in the Azteca when he won the ball in midfield, saw Memo Ochoa off his line, and chipped the keeper from distance to give the U.S. an extremely rare lead on Mexican soil.
One of the biggest games of the Hex is fast approaching, with Mexico hosting the U.S. in the Estadio Azteca this Sunday. The game, originally scheduled for Tuesday, was moved up to accommodate Mexico’s participation in the Confederations Cup.
Both teams are coming off wins on Thursday, with the U.S. beating Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 and Mexico seeing off Honduras 3-0.
El Tri will look to keep their unbeaten record alive, while the U.S. will look to shock their rival with a positive result. Mexico is currently first in the standings with 13 points, while the U.S. is third with seven.