Photo by ISIphotos.com
BY DYLAN BUTLER
Estadio Azteca has been a fortress for the Mexican National Team, but El Tricolor is the side heading into Saturday's World Cup qualifier desperate for a win, while visiting Costa Rica has scored 22 goals in seven straight wins and is confident it can pull off another upset in Mexico City. No doubt manager Rodrigo Kenton will be showing the squad a DVD of the Ticos monumental 2-1 win there on June 17, 2001.
Is this the bizarro qualifier? Mexico heads home winless in four straight qualifiers and will be without captain Rafael Marquez, who is serving a two-game ban following a red card against the U.S. in a 2-0 loss at Crew Stadium last month in the first game of the final Hexagonal stage.
While a 5-1 win against Bolivia two weeks ago provided a brief respite, or some would even say a stay of execution for manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, it seems Mexico's problems go even deeper than a string of bad results.
In an interview with FIFA.com, Marquez insists he is not to blame for Mexico's current form and instead points a finger elsewhere.
"Mexico football has a deep-rooted problem and that's the cause of the bad patch we've been going through," Marquez said. "Our football is stagnating. Sometimes I feel we're being left to fend for ourselves."
Not exactly the motivation Mexico was looking for from its captain leading up to a critical World Cup qualifier is it?
Kenton surely loves it. The more drama, the better. His squad, meanwhile, is coming off an impressive 2-0 home win against Honduras and it shares the top spot in the group with the U.S. The feeling in the Ticos camp is far different than the spanish version of "Dream Team" that has broken out in Mexico.
"The players have gotten into a rhythm and are playing good and, as a result, the fans and the media have come around and are right behind us," Kenton said. "We want to keep that going. We're looking for wins and that's that."
What do you make of the melodrama in Mexico? Can Costa Rica repeat the magic of 2001 and come away with three points in Mexico City? Let us know what you think.