Predicting a Dream World Cup Scenario for Mexico
Mexico will play their 15th World Cup this summer when they face Cameroon, Brazil and Croatia in the group stage.
El Tri have yet to qualify to the quarterfinals while playing abroad. The last time they advanced to that stage, Mexico hosted the tournament in 1986.
Ever since U.S.A 1994, the national team has failed to play the fifth match, which means they have been eliminated in the round of 16 in the past five editions of the World Cup.
Can they change their luck in Brazil?
Win Against Cameroon
The first match will be key for Mexico. It will be a confidence generator and the perfect game to shake the jitters ahead of the second clash.
El Tri have only faced The Indomitable Lions once, in a friendly back in 1993. The score favored the Latin American side with a goal by Daniel Guzman.
While times have changed and Cameroon will arrive to the World Cup with a rather talented squad led by Samuel Eto'o, Mexico has far more experience in this sort of competition.
The recent form of Oribe Peralta plus Carlos Pena's control and distribution skills prove that El Tri can be both lethal and unbalancing.
Draw with Brazil
This is not the first time Mexico are paired in the same group as the host. El Tri have been in this situation four times and have never grabbed more than one point
In Brazil 1950, they lost 4-0. Eight years later, they faced Sweden and went down, 3-0. In 1966, England beat them, 2-0, and they only managed to draw against South Africa four years ago.
Unfortunately, Mexico's record against Brazil in World Cups is not good either. They have played three games with losses for El Tri in all of them: 4-0 in Brazil 1950, 5-0 in Switzerland 1954 and 2-0 in Chile 1962.
Things don't seem different now. Brazil comes with a strong side, full of youngsters who have proven themselves in Europe's top clubs.
They have been playing together for a couple of years now and have already won the 2013 Confederations Cup, leaving Spain behind.
Having said that, a draw would definitively be a dream result for El Tri.
Victory Against Croatia
Croatia and Mexico have faced each other three times, and the scale has tipped to the Europeans twice.
In 1992 and 1999, they played friendlies, which resulted in Croatian victories. However, at the 2002 Word Cup, El Tri defeat them, 1-0.
Mexico will get to the World Cup with seven preparation matches, while The Blazers have only confirmed three.
Croatia's strength in the midfield is their greatest asset, especially when Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic take over the center of the pitch. They can handle the pressure, feed balls to their teammates or even help the attacking zone.
Meanwhile, El Tri needs to find balance precisely in that line, since Juan Carlos Valenzuela has faltered lately and the flying full-backs leave the three centre-backs by themselves in counterattacks.
The possession will be key in this game, and since it is the last one, the second spot of Group A could very well be defined here.
Mexico Advance in Second Place
After going unbeaten for the fifth time in history in the group stage (Mexico 1970, Mexico 1986, France 1998, and Korea-Japan 2002), El Tri will face Spain or Netherlands in the round of 16.
Mexico have already faced the Oranje in a World Cup. In France 1998, they were paired in the same group, and they tied the game with a late goal by Luis Hernandez.
Back then, the Netherlands had a brilliant squad, which included players of the likes of Edwin van der Sar, Frank de Boer, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Kluivert, Phillip Cocu and Edgar Davids.
Spain have also played against Mexico in this sort of tournament, in Chile 1962. They were part of Group 3, with Brazil and Czechoslovakia.
The game was defined in the 90th minute with a Joaquin Peiro goal. In all fairness, La Roja deserved the victory after constant efforts from Luis Suarez, Ferenc Puskas, Francisco Gento and Peiro.
They Have a Fantastic Game Against Spain/Netherlands
Seeking to play in the quarterfinals for the first time in a World Cup held abroad, Mexico will give a hell of a fight against any of the two European heavyweights.
This match will remind us of the clash against Argentina in the round of 16 held in Germany 2006.
Mexico gave it all and at times seemed like they could accomplish the feat, however, a brilliant long-distance shot from Maxi Rodriguez buried El Tri's hopes.
The match against Spain or the Netherlands will be the kind of game that needs a brilliant play to tip the scale. The game will be defined in overtime or penalty kicks.
If Mexico win, they will make it to the quarterfinals stronger than ever, and they would face any of the teams of Groups C and D. Although, England, Italy and Colombia seem to have better chances.
If El Tri lose, which seems more likely, their performance at the group stage and the round of 16 will be enough to please their fans.