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El Tri’s Road to Russia


For a 2nd year in a row (3rd straight tournament) El Tri was eliminated in humiliating manner. There is no justification for their weak performances. 2017 is almost over and before we know it, the qualifiers to the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be over.

The remaining WCQ matches aren’t too tough

Now that Mexico’s workload was decreased dramatically, they are expected to succeed in the remaining World Cup qualifiers. So far, they are only looking at four matches. First, they will travel to Panama on September 1st. There is a lot of tension between these two teams, and Panama has never shown to be pushovers to any opponent; especially against Mexico.

After that, Mexico will take on Los Ticos. Costa Rica isn’t all that tough of a team; but never count them out, as they will put up a fight. Los Ticos will turn to the likes of Keylor Navas (Real Madrid), Cristian Gamboa (Celtic), Celso Borges (Deportivo), and Joel Campbell (Arsenal) for this match. This is only assuming that these players are called up. Then again, it’s only logical that Oscar Ramirez brings out the big guns for World Cup qualifiers.


The last time that Mexico took on Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico barely came out on top. Anticipating a blowout victory over T&T is too easy and not that great of a possibility. In the 2015 Gold Cup, both teams drew with four goals each; with T&T scoring five of those goals. Yes, five goals.

To cap off 2017, Mexico will face Honduras. Sure, Honduras lost 0-3 the last time. Given El Tri’s current track record, a blowout is not going to happen. The most believable result could be a one-goal win for Mexico or a 1-1 draw. In short, we are looking at 2 wins and 2 draws; by the end of the year. It’s virtually impossible for Mexico not to qualify for the World Cup. That’s not the main concern.

Too much is expected

Mexico sit comfortably at the top of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table. What is concerning is in what shape will Mexico be in by the time the World Cup starts. Ever since their fall to Chile in last year’s Copa America, El Tri has been a shadow of what they were. Then again, maybe too much is expected out of them. From their competitive record, the team is one that wins or loses; with no middle ground. When was the last time you heard “They almost had it…”, “They could have won…”, “They were close, but…”, etc?

There is no denying this. El Tri will always be seen as choke-artists. Once they are under pressure, it’s time to pray for them. The examples start from the 2014 qualifying process up to this Gold Cup.

At the end of the day, it’s best to HOPE that El Tri make it to Russia. Don’t think about “What ifs…” for the World Cup; it’s too early for that.

Photo source: Selección Nacional

Luis Flores