Mexico vs. USA: Epic Qualifier Will Have Profound Impact on 2014 World Cup

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIMarch 25, 2013

COMMERCE CITY, CO - MARCH 22:  Forward Herculez Gomez #9 of the United States smiles after his teammate scored the loan goal in the game during a FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier match between Costa Rica and United States at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on March 22, 2013 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Tuesday's World Cup qualifying match between Mexico and the United States is shaping as one of the best international football matches seen this year.

And it certainly won't be without its fair share of talking points.

From the 100 degree heat that Mexico played in to the blizzard that engulfed the USMNT's qualifier, the two teams bring very different form lines into this one. 

And as a continuation of a great and historic rivalry that has seen memorable matches played over the years, this one is shaping as one of the greatest yet. After all, the United States hasn't ever defeated their rivals in Mexico in their 69-year history—could this be the weekend where it all changes? 

We'll know soon enough on that front, but the fact remains clear that there are plenty of incredibly huge talking points for both teams coming into the qualifier. Yet there can be none greater than that of the 2014 World Cup itself—the tournament for which all these qualifiers are about.

For this qualifier itself has the power to drastically change the balance of power in the CONCACAF hexagonal qualifying process. Moreover, it has the ability to change the teams that will and won't be moving through to the group stages of the 2014 World Cup.

Even with eight qualifying matches still remaining.

Have a look at the current standings on the table above, provided via Fox Sports.

We can see that Honduras currently leads the United States, Panama, Mexico and Jamaica, while Costa Rica rounds out the group—unlikely to be a genuine contender for qualification.

And already, we can make a few fair predictions about the standings, starting with the fact that Honduras is likely to move through to the World Cup. 

They are particularly strong at home, and have the attacking talent needed to score goals when needed, like we saw recently against Mexico.

It might not have been the first team that we expected to declare through to the World Cup, but with their games against all of the smaller teams still to be played, expect Honduras to find themselves well clear on top of the table by the time the reverse fixtures come.

Which leaves the United States and Mexico both needing to pick up those second and third spots—something they should do given their respective talent.

However, it could all come down to this match—particularly for Mexico—who can ill-afford to give up a stack of points to their rival nations here. If they lose to the United States here, or even draw against them, then their run at the World Cup will be significantly harder.

El Tri play two difficult away qualifiers to Jamaica and Panama after this one, and are likely to drop some points throughout those fixtures. That's not to say they can't win both, but rather acknowledging the talent that both teams have shown throughout the qualifiers so far.

And should they drop those points, the United States and Honduras will likely pull a full win clear on top of the group—leaving Mexico to battle it out with their other CONCACAF nations. Which is certainly not the position you want to be in heading into the offseason.

Four points dropped in those three matches might not seem like much, but it could end up being the difference between being in Brazil or not. That might sound dramatic, but the reality is that no team wants to be heading into the final game needing to win—regardless of whom it's against.

Of course, that can all be somewhat avoided here with a Mexican win, and the continuation of their incredible winning streak in Mexico over the USMNT.

But when Tuesday rolls around and the "pressure" on both teams is talked about, just know that there actually is a lot at stake in this one.

It might not seem like it now, but when it comes to the final games and the 2014 World Cup is within sight, then this one could well seem like the final itself for countries in the CONCACAF.


Who's winning this one? Mexico or the United States?

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