Mexico vs. USA: Shocking Draw Makes World Cup Run Much Tougher for El Tri
They came into it as the perennial favorites to extend an incredible home ground winning streak against one of their fiercest rivals in world football.
Yet Mexico emerged from their World Cup qualifier against the United States with very little to show for their supposed dominance and superiority on the night, and are now in an incredibly dangerous position within their CONCACAF qualifying group.
With three draws from their opening three qualifying games, Mexico currently find themselves down in fifth position out of the six teams left in the tournament.
What's worse is the three teams they've drawn with—Jamaica, Honduras and now the United States—aren't even inside the top two. Those spots are currently filled by Panama and Costa Rica, whom El Tri will take on when the qualifying process resumes back in June.
Obviously, with a plethora of qualifying matches still remaining, Mexico are still in an incredibly strong position to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
And given the favorable way in which the CONCACAF qualifying works—with the top three and potentially even four progressing—they'll likely still make it to South America later next year.
Updated CONCACAF SPI odds to qualify for WC: MEX 86.4%, USA 77.5%, CRC 76.5%, HON 55.4%, PAN 50.6%, JAM 19.2%.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) March 27, 2013
However, there can be no denying that the result here (or the lack of a result) just made their run to Brazil infinitely harder than it should have been.
Mexico will now enter their next few games of qualifying under immense pressure. Playing away to Honduras and Panama certainly won't be easy if what we've seen in the competition so far is anything to go by. And should they fail to win both of those games, they'll likely still find themselves outside of the top three heading into the latter stages of the qualifying process.
Which is not at all where they'll want to be.
With every game that passes where Mexico isn't "safe" in their qualifying group, the pressure grows on El Tri. With every shot that goes wide, pass that's misplaced and chance that's wasted against opponents they really should be beating, the pressure on Mexico remains.
And that pressure could well lead to a shock upset taking place.
It's still a long way from Brazil and the field being set for it, so it's difficult to make a definitive call about whether Mexico can survive or not.
Not enough being said about Mexico. Damp squib of a Hex start. Lacking the fire, dynamism that was to set them apart.— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) March 27, 2013
Given their talent and attacking threats against weaker opponents it seems hard to rule them out, but then again, there are some big holes in their lineup. The absence of a true No. 9 and attacking general perhaps the biggest hole of them all.
Having said that, another game without a win keeps the pressure on Mexico and keeps expectations off their opponents to try and stop them.
Which at the moment, is making Mexico's World Cup run more difficult with every passing week.
Mexico will still qualify for the 2014 World Cup...right?
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