2010 FIFA World Cup Draw: Mexico Locked in Group of Death

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2010 FIFA World Cup Draw: Mexico Locked in Group of Death
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

With the dreaded draw for next year's FIFA World Cup looming, Mexico and the United States' worst fears were realized when it was announced that they would share Bin Two with the weakest teams in the playing field.

Knowing full well that the odds were highly staked for them playing at least one exceedingly difficult team (Brazil, Argentina, etc.), the CONCACAF heavyweights braced for the worst.

In Mexico, pundits created deadly scenarios in which El Tri were often grouped with a South American giant, a strong European country, and an equally difficult African nation, rendering their chances of playing on almost nil.

Friday in Johannesburg, those fears were quelled for about 15 minutes or so.

It had seemed that Mexico had literally won the lottery, as they were paired up with host South Africa in Group A.

Historically, host nations get the easiest groups in order to facilitate them moving on to next rounds.

As Bin Two emptied, with Mexico surely grinning at the USA's dim fate when it was announced they'd share a group with England, that grin soon changed.

Bin Three's addition into Group A was arguably the most accessible South American team, Uruguay.

The two-time World Champions limped their way into the Cup, needing a play-off against Costa Rica to assure their spot.

Algeria, and then Slovenia, were put in Group B with the United States.

As Bin Four loomed to complete the group, the odds clearly favored Group A getting a substantially weaker European squad, such as Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland, or Greece.

It is exactly at that point when the actors went off-script.

France was selected, effectively lumping the host nation with at least two stronger teams in its group.

With Mexico opening their group play (and the World Cup itself) against South Africa on June 11 in Johannesburg, it now becomes the match that will dictate how the group eventually ends up.

Should Mexico beat the hosts, it could easily secure its passage to the knockout stage by the third match, when it will face Uruguay.

Historically, Mexico has seven wins, seven draws, and only three losses against Uruguay.

Meanwhile, a loss to South Africa would mean that Mexico would be fighting for their life against France in the second match of the group stage, likely meaning they'd be out of the tournament quickly.

In six matches, Mexico has never defeated France.

Despite the harsh drawing, South Africa should also look to the past for comfort: No host country has ever been eliminated from the group stage or the first round.

With no other group looking as difficult on paper as of now (with the possible exception of Group G, featuring Brazil, Portugal and the Ivory Coast), all eyes will be on Group A next June.

Should Mexico survive the group though, there is likely and added boon to their success: a possible rematch with the United States.

Groups A and B cross in the Round of 16. Thus, should the United States move on from their group and the second round, with Mexico doing the same, it could set the stage for the nations' second World Cup meeting in eight years.

On neutral ground, five matches have yielded two victories and a draw for each side.

However, since 2000, Mexico has only won four matches to the United States' nine.

And England? Outside of Mexico, El Tri have never defeated Fabio Capello's squad.

With everything said and done in South Africa, one thing's clearly sure for Mexico: They wouldn't mind returning that winning lottery ticket right about now.

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