Mexico vs. Canada: Biggest Takeaways from Gold Cup Victory for Both Teams
One of Thursday's 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup matches saw Mexico cruise past Canada in a 2-0 victory, and the match was full of takeaways for the rest of the tournament and beyond.
While El Tri showed their superiority against their North American rivals, the same is not guaranteed down the stretch, and it may have not done enough to make up for their opening group-stage loss to Panama.
Meanwhile, the Canadians are reeling after losing their first two matches of the tournament and look to be in serious trouble as far as advancing goes.
Let's take a look at the biggest takeaways from the telling match.
Mexico Is Not Unconscious
Just over a month ago, Mexico was entering a summer campaign that allowed them the chance to make noise in the Confederations Cup and Gold Cup, not to mention all-important World Cup qualifying.
So far, they've laid an egg. But their 2-0 win over Canada is the smallest of steps as far as getting back to El Tri football.
Without Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Giovani dos Santos on the roster, goals seemed to be at a premium for the Mexicans, and other players are being given a chance to assume the nation's offensive identity.
That decision made by head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre didn't start off too hot for his Mexican side, dropping their opening group-stage affair to Panama, 2-1. But now all of the sudden, Mexico looks ready to shed their lethargic offensive ways and get back to the football their native fans are used to seeing.
If they want any chance of defending their Gold Cup, it'll have to continue working out that way.
Canada Won't Be Moving On
Soccer has never been a popular sport of choice in Canada, and their national team has reflected that in their long history.
Despite being around since 1885, Canada has only qualified for one World Cup in 1986. One of the biggest moments in the national team's history is winning the 2000 Gold Cup, ironically, a tournament that more skilled squads like the U.S. and Mexico use to rest their stars.
The Canucks held on through the first 90 minutes in their opener against Martinique, before an extra-time goal culminated in their 1-0 defeat. They were outshot 26-10 by the small island country.
Canada nearly held Mexico scoreless for the first half, before Raul Jimenez notched the eventual game winner in the 41st minute that was followed by a 56th-minute penalty shot goal from Marco de la Mora.
The squad now has two losses in as many games, and save for a massive upset, they'll be exiting early once again from an international tournament.
Cheer up, Canada soccer fans. You still have hockey.
Barring Big Upset, El Tri Will Advance
After two matches apiece in Group A, Panama is set to advance with six points.
Mexico and Martinique are tied for the second qualifying spot in the group with three points, and they'll play each other Sunday with the winner securing a spot in the knockout stage.
Martinique are ranked 104th in the Elo world rankings—I didn't use FIFA because they aren't recognized. Canada, who Mexico just beat rather easily, is ranked 88th by FIFA, so these teams are similarly skilled, and that was shown when they faced off.
That gives Mexico a huge upper hand going into a bout with Martinique. They may have a win on their Gold Cup record, but it should be given an asterisk after it took an extra-time goal to score the tournament's first goal.
If Mexico somehow draws or loses this game, there is still a sliver of hope for advancing. While the top two teams in each of the three groups advance, the top two third-place teams also move on. So unless if Mexico had the least points out of the three third-place group finishers (which is possible if they lose), they'd move on regardless.
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