Mexico, the USA and one… or is it?

July 15, 2009 at 12:06 am Leave a comment

CONCACAF’s qualifying process is, not surprisingly, viewed as a formality for the USA and Mexico these days with a third spot up for grabs. Even with Mexico sitting in fourth place halfway through I don’t see it any other way and here’s why: big teams struggle at times but in the end we remember the final result. Brazil struggled in 2002 qualifying. Final result? They qualified, as always.

So I expect Mexico, the USA and one more will qualify and I expect the fourth placed team to have a good shot in the playoff. So, that’s it right? Recap over? Well, no, after all we’re halfway through and Mexico sit in fourth place, let’s wait till the Hexagonal is over before we overlook all the details. The good news for Mexico is that they have 3 home games remaining and their toughest home game is behind them. The bad news is they just fired a bad coach only to watch the new coach implode at the Gold Cup, suggesting their problems are contagious and not easily resolved. Their next game is against their greatest rival and while the US has had no previous success in Mexico if they change that now Mexico will on the outside looking in.

This seems like one of those cases where the problems have been building over a long period of time and qualifying will only hide those problems, not solve them. The storyline is still being written and August 12th will be the turning point, for better or worse. I find it particularly funny that both my country and my adopted country have upcoming games with their biggest rivals and a chance to further their opponents’ struggles, maybe even effectively knock them out of the World Cup.

On to the USA though. They’re in good shape but not in good form when it comes to qualifying. The Confederations Cup run though has brought them out of their slump and if they bring that form to remaining qualifiers they shouldn’t have any more scares like early goals given up at home (Honduras) or drubbings away (Costa Rica). If they’re sensible they won’t invest too much in the Mexico game expectation-wise but go in with an “everything to gain, nothing to lose” attitude”. They should see 8-9 points in the 4 remaining games and qualify in second place with first available if Costa Rica loses any home points.

I’ll take the gamble and expect Mexico to qualify third and ignore the larger problems. Honduras will take fourth in this scenario. Once again though I can’t wait to be wrong. I’m looking forward to Mexico x USA perhaps even more than I am Argentina x Brazil.

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Entry filed under: Other national teams, USMNT.

The CONMEBOL Rollercoaster Europe, drawing dead.

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