Mexico qualified for their eighth successive World Cup finals after Gerardo Martino’s side made heavy work of their qualification route. The question on every Mexican fan’s lips is whether they can move beyond their traditional round of 16 exits?
In each of their last seven finals, they’ve managed to edge through their group stage only to come unstuck in the first knockout round, and arguably they’ll have a tough time of it this time around in Qatar.
Any enthusiastic sports bettor who has a soft spot for El Tri out there may want to consider backing the Mexicans, perhaps via Rushbet Mexico, but neutrals may wish to steer clear of such action.
Martino’s side faces challenging group stage games against Argentina, who knocked them out in the last 16 in both 2006 and 2010, and Poland before finishing off with a more straightforward encounter with Saudi Arabia, by which time their fate may already be sealed.
Indeed in 17 World Cup finals tournaments, Mexico has only made it to the Quarter-Finals on two occasions, back in 1970 and 1986, and those two events both took place on home turf, so it would be fair to say that former Barcelona boss Martino has his work cut out for him at the 2022 World Cup.
The Mexicans are, on the whole, defensively sound, but in the final third, things are not so reliable. In 12 fixtures in 2022, thus far, Mexico has managed to score just 12 times, but they’ve managed to sneak out decent results purely because their back-line has afforded them the opportunity to do so.
Wolves forward Raul Jiminez continues to be their primary focus of attack, but he’s had an up and down time of it since returning from a long-term injury. Support comes in the form of Sevilla’s Jesus Manuel Corona and Napoli’s Hirving Lozano, and neither of these options is prolific.
When it comes to Mexican hopes of a long-run in Qatar, it’s interesting, and more than just a little random, that retired superstar Roberto Carlos has come out in their defense, stating that he believes they will go far in the finals;
“The most important thing is that the Tata Martino understands that soccer is becoming very equal. Mexico has great players, and I include them for at least the Semifinals… You have to believe that the Mexican National Team can reach the Semifinals because they have the quality they have organization. Soccer is very easy; if you believe they will be champions, you can do it.”
We are not sure quite why Roberto Carlos believes Mexico is capable of such a run, but Martino must do all he can to have his squad of rather average talents uniting to become more than just a sum of its parts.
Mexico plays Paraguay in their final warm-up match, on August 31st in Atlanta, before heading to Qatar, where they start by facing Poland in Doha on November 22nd.