The less-than-stellar performance by Mexico’s National Football Team means “El Tri” could face New Zealand for a final shot at the World Cup if the Mexican team can at least draw against Costa Rica’s National Team tonight.
Mexico usually breezes through qualifying rounds, but this year has been different. El Tri’s performance has been dismal, and now Mexicans must face the reality that their team might not make Brazil in 2014.
On Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m., El Tri faces Costa Rica’s La Sele, a team that already qualified and is undefeated at home. The match takes place in the National Stadium in western San José’s La Sabana Park.
In the past four matches, La Sele has scored eight goals and conceded just one. In away games, Mexico ‘s El Tri has drawn three and won one, while scoring just three goals and giving up two.
To secure a place in the playoffs, Mexico needs a tie, but they also still have a chance to win one of the three direct spots for the Concacaf region, if they beat Costa Rica with a one-goal difference and if Honduras loses to Jamaica.
The Jamaicans, however, have not won a single game in qualifying play, and the team is in last place in the division with four draws and five defeats.
El Tri will be eliminated with a loss to Costa Rica, and if Panama – playing at home – beats the United States by more than one goal. The Panamanians are undefeated at home, although they have only won one game.
Costa Rica is playing for pride, showing that they deserve a spot in Brazil.
La Sele’s loss last Friday in Honduras didn’t go over well with Tico fans. Beating Mexico also has a special element of revenge, as Mexican players, coaches and members of the media often disparage Central American teams.
During a press conference last Friday, a Mexican reporter asked Tico striker Joel Campbell, who plays for Olympiacos in Greece on loan from England’s Premier League Arsenal, “if he was surprised by Mexico’s current situation.”
Campbell replied, “It is time for Mexico to start showing some respect for their rivals. That’s why you are suffering now, you should be more humble, that is the reason why you are in trouble. […] You think you are Spain [current world champions] and you never show any respect for your opponents.”
On Monday another Mexican reporter infuriated Costa Rican coach Jorge Luis Pinto when he asked if “Costa Rica had helped Honduras in order to eliminate Mexico.”
Pinto responded that “anyone who thought that was absolutely wrong.”
“I have met very professional journalists in Mexico, but now I see that there are two or three clowns disguised as journalists who must learn respect. […] These are the kind of things you are paying for now. … It’s not Costa Rica’s fault that Mexico could be eliminated from the World Cup,” Pinto said.
Heading into tonight’s match, Pinto said his goals are to finish undefeated at home, and break a losing streak to El Tri at home. La Sele’s last win over Mexico was in 1992.
Pinto also hinted that his roster for tonight mostly will be the same as the one that defeated the U.S. on Sept. 6, meaning he’s going full-throtle with his offensive. “We’re at home and we will attack,” he said.