Mexico vs. Costa Rica: El Tri Must Play with More Urgency in Crucial Match
Mexico can't get too ahead of themselves. The job isn't done yet.
El Tri have one more match in 2014 World Cup qualification, on the road at Costa Rica. They must not go into that final fixture with the wrong attitude, or they'll watch as their spot in Brazil could turn to dust.
With a 2-1 win over Panama, Mexico got themselves into fourth place in the group, which would be good enough to qualify for the playoff against New Zealand. It was a pivotal victory for the team, but there's still work to be done in this final match.
Although Costa Rica have already booked their place in the World Cup, El Tri cannot afford to take a lazy approach to the match thinking the game is already won.
CONCACAF venues are underrated when it comes to the volatility of the fans and difficulty to win. European managers especially think that it's easy to beat small countries like Costa Rica, Panama and Honduras just because they don't have great reputations.
Where will Mexico finish in the group?
Those managers don't take into account the poor state of pitches across the region, and opposing supporters doing whatever it takes in order to help their team get the victory, whether it's hurling abuse at players or batteries and bags of urine.
Should Mexico start slow out of the gate, Los Ticos could get an early lead, and from there it would be an extremely tough uphill battle to get a result. El Tri need to ensure this doesn't happen by attacking with some urgency.
A lot hinges on the result of this match.
With a win, Mexico could get into the top three and avoid the playoff altogether. They'll need some help from Honduras, but it's still possible. Thinking back to where El Tri were under Jose Manuel de la Torre, it's shocking to think they could erase everything bad that's happened in the past year and automatically qualify.
At the very least, Mexico need to maintain a draw. That will keep Panama at bay. Keep in mind Panama will be playing a weakened United States at home. They could easily walk out of that match with three points.
Aside from what this match means in terms of the table and Brazil, there's a need to continue this goodwill and positivity brought along by de la Torre's sacking, the hiring of Victor Manuel Vucetich and then the win over Panama.
The atmosphere surrounding the squad is much more jolly than it would have been had Raul Jimenez not scored on that beautiful bicycle kick. Aside from being one of the best goals you'll ever see, it lifted the entire team and probably country out of the malaise that had been hanging around El Tri after their poor run of results.
The last thing that needs to happen is for Mexico to crawl back into their shell and put in a disjointed, apathetic performance that came to be the hallmark of de la Torre's reign. Not only will it scare supporters a bit, it could end up costly Mexico a place in the World Cup.
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