Mexico caps dramatic qualifying run with victory over New Zealand, ticket to Brazil

MexicoCelebrateGoal1-NewZealand (Imago7)

By CAITLIN MURRAY

Despite all the theatrics and worry that Mexico might not qualify for the 2014 World Cup, it turned out to be an easy task with only New Zealand standing in their way. With a 4-2 victory over New Zealand early Wednesday, Mexico is booked for Brazil on a 9-3 aggregate score line.

Forward Oribe Peralta continued his thrashing of New Zealand in Wednesday’s second leg, scoring a hat trick by half time and nearly single-handedly delivering a final blow to the Kiwi’s World Cup hopes.

Peralta opened scoring in the 14th minute off a pass from Carlos Pena he chipped over the Kiwi goalkeeper. In the 28th minute, he took advantage of an exposed left flank off a cross from Miguel Layun. Four minutes later, Peralta was back to bury a slip pass from Pena.

New Zealand waged a comeback late in the second half, scoring in the 80th and 83rd minutes, but it was too little, too late. Pena capped the scoring off for Mexico in the 87th minute.

Mexico outshot their opponent, 22-13, and doubled them in shots on goal, 13-6.

Mexico had its share of troubles during its World Cup qualifying run, ousting three coaches and winning only two games over 10 CONCACAF matches. That forced the Mexicans to go against Oceania’s New Zealand for a spot.

But New Zealand was never really up to the task. Mexico dominated the All Whites in the first leg, 5-1, making Wednesday’s match seem like a perfunctory final step to Brazil.

Mexico head coach Miguel Herrera fielded a local team in a 5-3-2 formation for the New Zealand matches, opting not to call in players based in Europe and elsewhere. It paid off in the end, but it remains to be seen if Herrera will earn a longer-term contract and put an end to coach shuffling.

Herrera had been given the national team post on a two-game interim basis, but after digging Mexico out of a seemingly deep hole, his name should be at the top of the list when Mexico’s soccer federation meets to discuss the job next month.

Mexico snatched the 31st spot in the 32-team World Cup field. The final spot will be awarded Wednesday night when Jordan meets Uruguay.

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What do you think about Mexico qualifying? Do you think Miguel Herrera should be named full-time coach of El Tri? Do you feel Mexico are good enough to move on from the group stage in Brazil?

Share your thoughts below.

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97 Responses to Mexico caps dramatic qualifying run with victory over New Zealand, ticket to Brazil

  1. Maykol says:

    I bet most Central American teams would have beaten this New Zealand team for the World Cup spot

  2. KingGoogleyEye says:

    “Dramatic” is not the right word here. “Dramatic” would have applied to a team like Panama, a long-term confederation middleweight that recently looked as if it might win the Gold Cup and came so very close to grabbing the playoff spot against New Zealand for their first ever World Cup appearance. That’s drama.

    With all of Mexico’s talent, history, and expectations, its WCQ run—despite its recent thrashing of 79th-place New Zealand—can only be described as pathetic.

  3. m says:

    and you just know Mexico is going to get a great draw and we are going into the mega group of death

    • AcidBurn says:

      This. I see it coming already. Thanks, Zusi.

      • biff says:

        Yep, true. And under Murphy’s Law it is almost certain that if the USMNT and Mexico survive their groups they will meet in the Sweet Sixteen and, well, I gotta a bad feeling about that scenario.

        Let’s not thank, Zusi, though. Klinsmann deserves the thanks.

        • Brett says:

          I disagree, and I hope this exact scenario plays out.. What could possibly be sweeter than knocking Mexico out of the World Cup? Those of us who were around in 2002 remember a euphoria beyond compare. He head was never held so high as a football fan.

          However, it seems more likely we would meet them in the round of 8 since we are each more likely to take 2nd place in our respective groups and would thus not be matched up in the round of 16. A meeting in the round of 16 would mean one of us would have to win our group.

    • Lorenzo says:

      What is the easiest group they could have? Switzerland, Algeria, Croatia? That would still give them troubles. Unless of course this coach turns them around and gets them playing well again. Yes, it would be annoying if we got a Spain, France, Italy group. Us and 3 World Cup winners.

    • Maykol says:

      USA, brazil, Ghana, portugal. I can see it now

      • bryan says:

        this has been one of the more frequent results from the simulations i’ve done.

        the other is swapping Brazil for Spain and/or Portugal for Holland.

  4. AL says:

    …..and America cried.

  5. Alex says:

    I look at this as how competitive concacaf is compared to other regions especially from NZ qualifying group. Mexico in the World Cup and winning with ease helps support concacaf for future teams qualifing for future world cups.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      Every confederation is competitive compared to NZ’s qualifying group (Oceania). My Saturday morning pickup game would be competitive in Oceania.

  6. already annoyed says:

    you know what? phuq them.

    what annoys me more is the following scenario:

    Mexico get a cream puff group and make it to the quarters.
    USA gets a group of death goes three and out
    Endless columns get published about of how far ahead Mexico is as a footballing nation.

    quality counts for something, just not always in W’s and L’s.

    • Sam says:

      ^ This. And if we don’t get Ghana in our group of death, we’ll get them if we manage to get group stage. Because effin’ Ghana.

      (No offense to Ghana, who are quite good if a bit rough. But 2 WCs in a row makes me a bitter fan. Also, we should have a friendly with them. To see how we match up.)

    • AL says:

      Excuses already?

      • already annoyed says:

        I’m now adding you to the list of why I’m using this handle on this thread…

        “Excuses” have nothing to do with it, it’s about forming expectations based in reality so I can actually gauge progress.

        I’d bet that you’re the kind of chucklehead that will call for JKs head if we draw Japan, Spain, and Switzerland in Brazil and don’t advance, never mind the fact that on any given day bookmakers would see us against each of those teams as the underdog.

        I’ll never turn down a cinderella run, but the WC tournament is one of the few tourney’s that seems impervious to “streaky” teams willing it all. We’ll win a World Cup once we’ve built a program that sees us being a regular favorite, that only happens with real step by step steady progress (which I believe we’re doing, but doesn’t always end in a W), not with lucky draws (which Mexico just used to back in to the tournament).

        • BamaMan says:

          The USA should be able to compete in any group they draw in the World Cup, including a “group of death.” If we can’t beat Japan and Switzerland, we don’t deserve to advance. It’s that simple. If we draw an easy group, great. But the reality is that we ought to be able to compete with anybody outside the top 5 or so in world. Not beat them every time, mind you, but hang in a soccer game against them.

          • biff says:

            +1

            Yours truly,

            biff the chucklehead

            • PD says:

              I would say that getting four or five points from a group like that would be us performing at expectation, and while you would hope that we’ll play above expectation, and I know they’ll fight like hell to do it, no one should call a performance like that a setback or one that puts us “behind” and yet there will be folks who will. They are chuckleheads.

    • bryan says:

      stop worrying about Mexico or what the internet comment sections say.

    • AJ says:

      I love how futuristic you can be in your b%*ching. You sound more like a propagandist than a fan of the game.

    • AcidBurn says:

      This. Would not be able to stand the media about how Mexico is the KING of Concacaf again after they make it to the quarters by getting out of a group with Switzerland, Algeria, and Greece and then play someone like Japan in the R16 before bowing out to Argentina in the quarters…

      …while the US gets Brazil, Portugal, and Ghana and gets waxed.

      • Anthony says:

        well, historically the groups have been pretty equal for both teams
        1994
        Mexico——————Romania
        Ireland——————-Switzerland
        Italy———————–US
        Norway——————Colombia

        1998
        Netherlands———–Germany
        Mexico——————Yugoslavia
        Belgium—————–Iran
        South Korea———–US

        2002
        Mexico——————South Korea
        Italy———————–US
        Croatia——————-Portugal
        Ecuador—————–Poland

        2006
        Portugal—————-Italy
        Mexico——————Ghana
        Angola——————Czech Republic
        Iran———————–US

        2010
        Uruguay—————-US
        Mexico——————England
        South Africa———–Slovenia
        France——————-Algeria

        • John says:

          I’d take any of those in Brazil

        • BB says:

          Thank you…to my subjective eye it looks like Mexico has gotten the harder group 4 out of the past 5 World Cups, and has always advanced. The US does have 2002 to be nostalgic about though.

          • Anthony says:

            and from those groups Mexico won 6 games, tied another 6 and only lost 3 while the US only won 3, tied 5 and lost 7 games, and a curious fact, the winners of the Hex in the 2002 and 2006 cycles failed to make it out of the group stage in the WC

  7. TheSoccerDude says:

    Good Job Mexico!

    Haters, why y’all hating?

    • NC Jeff says:

      The “haters” aren’t USMNT fans … those on the other side too often can’t manage to say that the USMNT has ever been at least equal to El Tri … not AFTER any of the USMNT Gold Cup wins, not after the USMNT again topped CONCACAF’s WC qualifying table, or even after the USMNT beat EL Tri in a knock-out WC match. Soon, even after the USMNT, with nothing to gain themselves, threw El Tri a lifepreserver in Panama, we’ll probably hear “Oh, we knew all along we would be going to Brazil.” That is a hater. Someone simply annoyed with such is not.

      Finally, El Tri did look absolutely fantastic in both of their games against New Zealand … the world’s #71 ranked team.

      • Anthony says:

        The reason why Mexico and the US are not equal is quite simple:
        Mexico has 9 CONCACAF continental champioships while the US has 5 and all won on American soil.
        Mexico is the only CCAF team that has won official FIFA tournaments
        Mexico is the only CCAF team that has made it out of the gs in the WC everytime since 1994
        Mexico is the only CCAF team that has made it to the finals of Copa America and, in club competition, to the Copa Libertadores.
        Mexico is the only CCAF team (and one of the only teams in the Americas with Argentina and Uruguay) to win the gold medal in the soccer olympic tournament.
        Mexican clubs have won 29 CONCACAF Champions League while the MLS have won only 2

        Also, there is no point in topping the CONCACAF WCQ if you are not seeded, I remember that Lavolpe, Mexico’s coach in the 2006 cycle, decided to drop away the last game because the team was already qualified and seeded which gave the US the chance to take the first spot in that cycle which later ended with a humiliating last place in Germany, there are many factors that make qualifying in CONCACAF harder for Mexico than to the US, mostly, the rivalry and hate between Central American nations and Mexico, something that doesn’t happen against the US.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          Anthony: I was with your intelligent comment all the way until “the rivalry and hate between Central American nations and Mexico, something that doesn’t happen against the US.”

          • NC Jeff says:

            Well said … heck, with all the immigrants we take from around the world, and especially Mexico & Central America, the USSF has to be VERY careful in where they host each WCQ game just to avoid giving the opponent a “home field” advantage. I mean, when was the last time the US played Mexico in the USA in a Gold Cup AND had a crowd-size advantage … ever?

            Finally, I have to say it, as the Mexican announcers put it so succinctly: “Thank you, America!!! Thank you, USA!!!”

          • Anthony says:

            people confuse the hostile treatment with rivalry, when the US plays against a Central American team the fans try to intimidate the team because they know the US is superior and when they win it is a reason to celebrate because they beat a CONCACAF “powerhouse”, but when Mexico plays against them you can see how much they hate them and their team, there was even one case of a honduran commentator asking the fans to murder a mexican ref on live TV and you can’t forget the infamous chant popular in central america “Al mundial no vamos pero a Mexico ganamos” (we’re not going to the WC but we are going to beat Mexico),

            • KingGoogleyEye says:

              Anthony: I’m not saying you’re wrong, but how do you measure that? How do you know that CA teams simply intimidate-to-compete against the US but loathe Mexico? Is there a hate-o-meter somewhere?

              When they throw bags of urine at the US, is it rainbow scented urine, whereas the night before hosting Mexico they chug bottles of rancid hot sauce?

        • BamaMan says:

          I think many of the Central American nations hate the USA as much if not moreso than Mexico. There’s no excuse for Mexico’s poor performance this cycle but you are right that it’s not relevant now.

          • dan says:

            No central american country hates the US as they hate Mexico. What the US experinced in Costa Rica wasn’t even close to what Mexico experiences every game. I do agree this is not an excuse. Their poor form was not a result of some hostile enviroment. Also remember they were unlucky no to get a few calls. So there was a little bit of luck involved as well.

          • Maykol says:

            No Central Americans like to beat usa, but they loooove to beat mexico

        • bryan says:

          exactly, historically, Mexico is still the better performer internationally. but then again, the US hasn’t really been a legit team for that long when compared to Mexico. also, this comment needs an asterisk:

          “Mexico has 9 CONCACAF continental champioships while the US has 5 and all won on American soil.”

          as if Mexico doesn’t get home-field advantage in the US. not saying it shouldn’t be noted, but there should be an asterisk.

          plus, Mexico won the Confeds Cup on Mexican soil. and the group was Saudi Arabia, Bolivia, and Egypt. then they played the USA (who advanced out of a group including Germany, Brazil and NZ) and won 1-0, having to go into extra time against a weak US team. it wasn’t until the final with Brazil they beat a team that was considered better than them.

          so if we’re dishing out perspective, do it for both sides.

          • John says:

            So they beat a team that was considered significantly better than them in the 99 Confederations Cup final, after beating the US in the semis. What kind of perspective are you looking for?

            Much like the US, Mexico wasn’t very good for most of the past century and it wasn’t until after the 1986 WC that Mexico showed they were a somewhat decent side. Like the US, they have shown tremendous improvement after hosting the WC.

            Perspective, I suppose.

            • bryan says:

              the perspective was they played and win in Mexico, something he had just discredited the US for doing in the Gold Cup.

              as for y our second point, in 1999, which in the Cup I’m referring to, Mexico was absolutely a MUCH better team than the USA.

              like i said above, Mexico is absolutely the better team historically. just adding some context.

          • Anthony says:

            while Mexico enjoys a lot of support in the US is not the same as if Mexico had hosted the tournament (like the US does) and played every final in the Azteca or something like that, they are still in the US and of the last 6 GCs Mexico won 4 were against the US and 2 against Brazil while the US have only beaten Mexico in one GC final back in 2007 (same summer Mexico finished 3rd place in Copa America) and while Mexico hosted that Confederations cup (and won it) it is bigger than anything the USMNT has ever accomplished specially considering how much fans bragged about the results in 2009.

            • bryan says:

              i don’t understand the point of your comment. i never said it was the same, i pointed out that Mexico games in the US are basically home games for Mexico. that’s it. the US winning a Gold Cup that takes place entirely in Mexico is something I would love to see because I think it would be harder. my point was simply that Mexican games in the US are basically home games. nothing more, nothing less.

              when did i say the US has something as cool as a Confeds Cup trophy???? i don’t understand your point here because i never said anything to the contrary. i just said Mexico won that Cup at home in a very easy group, and by beating the USA then Brazil.

              did you miss the part where i said Mexico is the better team historically?!

              • Anthony says:

                I actually did miss that part, but my point was that, while Mexico enjoys support in the US is nothing like playing it at home and that the US has only won one of five finals against Mexico and most of its Gold Cups are against other CONCACAF teams and that’s when the US enjoys a better home support.

              • bryan says:

                right, but no one is disputing that. that’s why i was confused. of course it would be harder for the US to win a Gold Cup if it was played entirely in Mexico. i wasn’t arguing against that.

                i was just replying to the comment that US has only won on US soil, which was implying it’s so hard for Mexico to win on US soil. i think that is a little silly given the MASSIVE support of El Tri in the USA. Mexico has a bigger following in the US than the US does. the US is not going to fill 100,000 people into Jerry’s World unless we’re playing against Brazil…and even then, it’ll be mostly Brazilian fans.

                that’s my point. yes, the US has only won on US soil, but it’s not like the US gets a huge home field advantage in doing so nor does Mexico lose that advantage. even Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador can out-draw US fans if the game is in the right city.

                this trend is starting to change, but outside of Seattle, I have yet to see a Gold Cup game, in an NFL size stadium, where the stadium was packed with 70%+ US fans.

  8. Sam says:

    I’m disappointed. I always like minnow teams, so I was hoping the Kiwis could manage to make it through. That said, I don’t feel like Mexico should be proud of itself for getting in (plus, it seems that nearly the whole team plays on the same domestic team…).

    I would’ve preferred to see Egypt get into the WC. They had a superb record and would’ve made a fantastic narrative to follow. Sadly, just because they lost two games against a formidable opponent (*shakes fist in the general direction of Ghana*), they’re out! Meanwhile, Mexico was sub-par and still managed to wiggle in. It’s a damn shame.

    • Maykol says:

      Yeah but Egypt played garbage teams like Zimbabwe and Mozambique to get that record

      • already annoyed says:

        Kinda like how the US plays in CONCACAF? unless you watched the games don’t assume it was a cakewalk.

        • Maykol says:

          They won every single game, I’m going to assume they didn’t have much trouble

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            Maykol: That’s a really bad assumption. Seriously, is that based entirely on wins, nothing more?

            already annoyed: Egypt, ranked 51, struggled against Guinea, ranked 68. They also played Zimbabwe (ranked 102), winning on a late penalty, and Mozambique (ranked 115). Then fell against Ghana (23).

            The USMNT (ranked 13) played against Jamaica (82), Guatemala (112), and Antigua & Barbados (112).

            So you’re right to compare Egypt’s run to the USMNT’s.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      “just because [Egypt] lost two games [to Ghana]”

      Egypt only lost the first (6:1). It won the home game 2:1.

  9. Benny says:

    Do you feel Mexico are good enough to move on from the group stage in Brazil? NO

    • Maykol says:

      Barely a year ago many people were ranking them one of the top 10 or 15 teams in the world. I honestly have no idea how they will do at the World Cup

    • Rob Jones says:

      I don’t feel the USMNT is good enough to move on from the group stage.

      • Smokey says:

        Just because someone thinks Mexico isn’t going to make it out of their group, you assume that the U.S. is his or her favorite team. I have news for you buddy, nobody thinks Mexico is getting out of their group. Why? Because they suck!!!!!!!! That’s why. WOW, you guys beat New Zealand …. OOOOO. I have more news for you. Mexico will not have the Dominican Republic, Granada and the country of Chad in their group. Teams that would have beaten New Zealand. Mexico sucks!!!! Get it though your dopey head. They suck!!!!!!!! The U.S. will not only get out of their group, they will make it at least to the quarter finals. Mexico will make history by losing every single game and scoring zero goals and allowing minimum 9, maybe 12!!!

        • Rob Jones says:

          How many non-Americans post on here?

          Also, can you sound anymore immature?

        • Rob Jones says:

          You’re the reason I don’t come on here much, too many delusional USMNT fanboys who froth at the mouth and growl like at rabid dog at the Mexico national team, which I actually respect.

          • Smokey says:

            I respect lousy teams as well but not Mexico who are bunch of cry babies and poor losers. They are simply pathetic. When Mexico was beating the likes of Granada 5-0 all the Mexican fans just flooded their posts everywhere. Now you guys suck and are in hiding, After beating a rugby side, by the score of 4-2, you guys think your back. HHAAAAA!!!! Three and out.

  10. BB says:

    What’s interesting about the World Cup is that while it seems like a crapshoot due to the timing and format (ie. random teams making the knockout rounds) it is always the same teams over and over who win it and they all share the same characteristics: world class players at every position, complete, well rounded team with a specific philosophy and depth, great coaching, experience and pedigree. Only Brazil, Germany, Spain, and Italy fit that bill. ( Argentina’s defense is iffy, France is not quite there yet, Uruguay getting older, England lol). PS. These are the only countries who have won a world cup. US and Mexico obviously have the capabilities and you would be lying if you can’t agree these are by far the best two teams in concacaf, with both being able to make it to knockout stages. But they will ultimately be fodder for the elite teams mentioned above.

    • go euro or go home says:

      italy does not fit your description of a potential winner

      • BB says:

        They are probably the weakest of the top four. The whole defense plays at Juve, plus Pirlo, Marchishio. Then you have Balotelli and Rossi, plus Daniel DeRossi. It’s a pretty consistent line-up, Allegri has done a good job of making them more attack minded, 2nd place at Euros, 3rd place confed cups (lost on penalties to Spain). I think they fit the bill

  11. Wonderloaf says:

    Deport Zusi. He will never get capped again.

  12. Benny says:

    Having 4 coaches during qualifications is just too much of a distraction. Players can never really adapt or get settled to a specific system or style. Herrera did what he was comfortable with. He took his “America” side because he already knew what he was going to get out them with respect to cohesiveness. He didn’t have to tinker with anything. He knew that New Zealand was a weak side. However, now, what will Herrera do? I believe there is only one FIFA fixture date in March where he can really see all of his players. Can he make his first side cohesive with a March fixture date by adding European players? What can he possibly do that the other three coached could not? Does he stick to mostly a domestic side? Does the Mexican Federation even hire him for the WC 2013 next month? Herrera wants a contract until 2018 I believe. It will be funny seeing the Mexican version of Barney Rubble going “loco” on the sidelines I would have to admit. Mexico will have to get a very very favorable draw if they have any chance of getting out of the group stage.

    • Rob Jones says:

      Miguel Herrera does have plans to call ups the Euro based players to strengthen his side.

      Also:

      “Mexico will have to get a very very favorable draw if they have any chance of getting out of the group stage.”

      This applies to every CONCACAF team.

  13. bottlcaps says:

    Herrera has a big problem. He has to integrate the talented but non-productive Euro players with his largely Club America side.

    Mexico played well against an far inferior New Zealand, and it’s tempting to stay with the side that got you out of a hole, but NZ was ranked lower than Jamaica ,the dead last ConCaCaf team, But Mexico will need the players like Dos Santos and Chicharito’ should he want to advance out of the group stage at the WC. Herrera has only a few months and a few friendlies to integrate a new team. Truly a big challenge for him.

    • Anthony says:

      I think that Herrera’s 5-3-2 system would fit Mexico better than De la Torre’s 4-4-2 or the 4-2-3-1 he used in the 2011 GC, it is practically the same system used by Lavolpe back in 2005 and 2006 (when Mexico was seeded in the WC), players like Javier Aquino and Andres Guardado fit better as wingbacks than midfielders or wingers, both Diego Reyes and Hector Moreno have experience playing in a line with 3 CBs, the only problem I see is Mexico getting the right dmf before the WC with Jonathan Dos Santos injured, Jorge Enriquez out of form and Gerardo Torrado turning 35 next year, the offensive line up would also help players like Hector Herrera from Porto or Carlos Peña (best player in Liga MX imho) to create chances for both attackers, and I doubt that Mexico is going to have problems finding the right set of strikers, specially if they get Carlos Vela back, with Peralta, Hernandez, Giovani dos Santos and Jimenez.

      ————————-Ochoa————————-
      ——–Reyes——Marquez——Moreno——-
      Aquino————————————Guardado
      ———————–???????————————-
      ————Herrera————–Peña—————-
      ——————Peralta—-GDS

      we’ll have to wait to see what happens.

      • go euro or go home says:

        marquez is past it, dude

      • Smokey says:

        Please, please please !!!!!!!!!!! Give me a break.!!!!!!!!Mexico sucks!!!!!!!!!! They are going no where. By the Ochoa will not start. He sucks… Corona sucks…. That bum Sanchez is probably the best Mexican goalkeeper but he won’t be called in. Why? Because he sucks as well.

  14. Pause the game real quick says:

    Of course the Mexicans were still diving after going like 8 goals up on aggregate. Old habits die hard.

  15. Brain Guy says:

    Herrera indeed has a tough job to do. This playoff against NZ was way easy compared to the task he faces now — which is essentially to reconstruct a team that was pretty toothless over ten games of the Hex.

    I love how people are already complaining about the respective groups into which the US and Mexico will be drawn. It’s like (paranoia)^2.

    • Rob Jones says:

      It’s just that some USMNT fans are pathetic and cook up conspiracy theories about FIFA being anti-American.

  16. Smokey says:

    OH, Yeah, Mexico is back. PPPSSSSSS!!!!They suck Mexican fans. Keep dreaming. Your team sucks!!!!! Go back into hiding. Maybe if they tie Algeria , taco bell will throwout some free tacos.

  17. Rob Jones says:

    Good for Mexico, well see if they can build on these performances and have a good World Cup.