x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Reality bites for Mexico in pursuit of ticket to finals

Concacaf side could miss out on 2014 tournament.

Mexico players train ahead of the Panama match. AFP
Mexico players train ahead of the Panama match. AFP

Not since 1990 has a World Cup been played without Mexico, and even then they missed because of a ban stemming from using an overage player in age-group competition. But the prospect of missing out on Brazil is real, after winning only one of eight matches so far in the Concacaf hexagonal. Victor Manuel Vucetich, who is nicknamed “King Midas” for his five domestic football titles, has been brought in as coach, and his golden touch may be required. Mexico lie fifth in the table, three points behind third-place Honduras and behind Panama on goals scored, for a play-off spot versus New Zealand. Mexico host Panama tonight in 100,000-seat Azteca Stadium, formerly a fortress, for what could be a decisive encounter, while Honduras face Costa Rica, who have qualified. On Tuesday, Mexico goes to Costa Rica, while Honduras are in Jamaica and Panama host the United States, who also qualified.