By FRANCO PANIZO
The skillful and heroic goal that has been seen around the world may have helped Mexico breathe a little easier, but their job is not done yet.
The euphoria from Raul Jimenez’s spectacular bicycle kick in Mexico’s 2-1 win over Panama last week has died down and El Tri now head into Costa Rica focused on trying to grab a result so as to assure itself of having at least chance at qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. Failing to at least draw against the already-qualified Ticos at Estadio Nacional would not only serve as the latest demoralizer in a troubled qualifying campaign, but it could knock El Tri completely out of World Cup contention should Panama also defeat the U.S. Men’s National Team at home.
Mexico have essentially all to play for, but will need to dig deep to avoid repeating the persistent problems of the past in a tough place to play. Confidence will be a big factor in determining El Tri’s fate in the match and they will need to stay mentally strong even if they go down a goal in order to have a shot at avoiding a potential elimination, an elimination that some U.S. fans would love to see while others do not.
In the other final CONCACAF qualifier, Honduras will try and lock up third place in the Hexagonal when they visit Jamaica. The Catrachos would be wise not to overlook the Reggae Boyz despite their winless record, especially after the young Jamaica squad held firm against the U.S. before succumbing to a pair of late goals in last Friday’s 2-0 defeat in Kansas City.
A draw is all Honduras needs to make sure it clinches the final automatic World Cup berth from CONCACAF, but it is still likely they come out trying to score from the onset. An early goal would do wonders for Honduras’ Brazil 2014 hopes, but Jamaica will be trying to play the role of spoiler while looking to give their fans something to finally cheer about in this forgettable round of qualifying for the Reggae Boyz.
What do you think of these final CONCACAF qualifiers? Hoping Mexico is eliminated, or prefer to see them at least move on in qualifying? Do you see Honduras easily disposing of Jamaica?
Share your thoughts below.