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CONCACAF Update: How much trouble is Mexico in?

Cuauhtemoc Blanco 1 (Reuters)

Three road qualifiers. Three losses. Three points from four matches.

That is the sorry state the Mexican national team finds itself in four games into its World Cup qualifying campaign. Saturday's 2-1 loss to El Salvador has Mexico in must-win mode mid-way through the Hexagonal Round of CONCACAF qualifying.

So how much trouble is Mexico in? We will find out on Wednesday, when 'El Tri' faces Trinidad & Tobago in Mexico City. Mexico. A win vs. T&T would help the Mexicans regain some balance and move back into a comfortable position in the standings. A tie or a loss and Mexico would head into the August 12th showdown vs. the U.S. national team in full panic mode.

Here is a quick rundown of the CONCACAF Hexagonal

1. COSTA RICA (12 points). Consecutive wins has 'Los Ticos' in first place, and in very good shape to qualify, but a trip to Honduras looms in August followed by a visit from Mexico (the last team to beat Costa Rica in San Jose) and a trip to surprising El Salvador.

2. USA (10 points). Beating Honduras on Saturday gives Americans some breathing room heading into visit to Azteca in August, but home date vs. El Salvador at Rio Tinto Stadium on Sept. 5th should be an interesting one.

3. EL SALVADOR (5 points). Surprise of the group, Salvadorans have benefited from playing three of first four qualifiers at home. Things are about to get much tougher with three straight qualifiers on the road, starting with visit to desperate Honduras on Wednesday night, followed by visits to Trinidad and Washington D.C.

4. HONDURAS (4 points). 'Catrachos' will regret the missed opportunity to get a point or three in Chicago, but four home games remain on Honduras' schedule. A win vs. El Salvador in Honduras on Wednesday would provide a major boost.

5. MEXICO (3 points). Three losses in four is terrible, but four home games remain on Mexico's schedule. 'El Tri' SHOULD beat Trinidad & Tobago at Azteca, but anything less would suddenly leave the Mexicans vulnerable heading into the USA match.

6. TRINIDAD & TOBAGO (2 points). Defense let T&T down against Costa Rica on Saturday and now the 'Soca Warriors' must find a way to win or tie at Azteca against a desperate Mexico team. Things don't look good for a team that actually boasts a good collection of attacking talent.


What do you think of the current CONCACAF standings? Who do you see turning things around? Which team do you think is in serious trouble? Still not ready to write off Mexico?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Blanco is the main guy for Mexico… if he doesn’t play Mexico won’t get far… he needs to play because he is the one that makes all the plays. I love Blanco!

  2. @ Turtle:

    Stop crying about the game in Costa Rica and worry about the USNT. CR might not have a great road record but we don’t either. Didn’t we lose on the road at T&T in the 2nd round (we should have asked for an air conditioned field right?), tie in EL Salvador and lose in CR. Not the best results.

    BTW for 2006 Mexico went down to CR and won at Saprissa with the crappy turf.

    If you are good enough you win anywhere.

    CR has a good team with quite a few players in Europe (Ruiz who dribbled around our Defense was just named best foreign player in Belgium; yes over Gouch); they are no piece of cake. Stop worrying about them and their crappy field and lets worry about us.

    Magic number is 16. US (10+6)and CR(12+6) win both home games and they are in; the rest can get the spoils.

  3. okay, but what about portugal??? definitely utter domination in all of those situations. Teams like that do not get intimidated anywhere, definitely not in costa rica or el salvador. they go in to enemy territory with confidence, and rightly so, they have earned it.

    Posted by: Jerry | June 08, 2009 at 04:23 PM”

    So far Portugal has failed to get WCQ wins in Sweden and Albania. I know it’s fashionable to downplay any positives for CONCACAF soccer, but some of you really go overboard.

  4. Mexico wins their next two games at home and all of a sudden they have nine points and they’re breathing down our necks and all of us with the attention spans of goldfish will be posting furiously about how US is past its prime and Mexico is a great and passionate team and of course we should fire BB

    Lol gotta love football

  5. 1) You don’t need to average a win in your home games and a draw on the road to qualify. Not even close, in fact, as no team has ever failed to advance with 15 points or more. So winning by home is all that it is ultimately needed and, as such, Costa Rica and the US are well on their way to qualification.

    I don’t think he was saying you would, but rather using the “media inglese,” as they say in Italy, to balance out home and away differences. By that scale, as he said, Mexico is looks a little better and a couple other teams a bit worse. Think that’s accurate.

  6. I hate mex and they are severly overated but theres no way the smog and altitude wont beat the Soca Warriors even though the Mex team is nothing special.

  7. Portugal isn’t in danger of making the World Cup because UEFA doesn’t get enough spots, it’s because they couldn’t score against Sweden (twice) or Albania (at home), and lost to Denmark.

    I think CR could give most teams trouble at Samprissa, though the best teams would beat them.

  8. I find it interesting that there’s an argument over whether European squads would dominate as Saprissa.

    I don’t know what would happen if Spain showed up in San Jose, but I think CR would have a puncher’s chance against ANYONE because of the TURF. Take some of the english Xavi or Iniesta put on a nice through ball, and put that on the rubber non-slip pad of Saprissa and watch balls spin wildly out of control. Any team that relies on intricate, precise passing would have nightmares on that crap.

    Now teams like England, or Germany (Sweden?) who play route 1 ball, mostly in the air have a better shot, because the never have to deal with a bouncing spinning ball.

    Jesus! did Saprissa suck!

  9. Ives, why do you think Guillermo Franco
    and Nery Castillo got the striker spots, Europe bias?

    Franco got little playing time at Villarreal, don’t know his stats, and Nery to me always seems to unbalance El Tri. I think these are the same player mistakes Sven made.

  10. Go USA

    I agree Honduras and Costa Rica have improved. However if players like Leon, Guevera, Pavon, and Costly will get you results in the World Cup, I don’t know why anyone on this site would worry or think that US would be 3 and out. US have players way better than them. Suazo and Palcios are very good though.

  11. Jerry

    I agree with your last post. That is why countries from cancacaf and asia need to step it up in the World Cup so people don’t say things like this because they have a fair point. The problem in taking the best 32 countries to the World Cup is that there is no true way to say who is the top 32. If it was up to me, the spotes would go to

    15 from Europe

    5 from South America

    5 from Africa

    3.5 from Asia

    3.5 from Concacaf

    I didn’t include Oceania because New Zealand is the best there and they do not belong in the World Cup(at least not yet)

  12. Can you imagine a world cup without Portugal and Ronaldo in it? It still doesn’t seem right. If that happens I still think there will be increased calls for Concacaf to lose a qualifying spot because surely portugal should qualify over costa rica.

  13. Jerry

    The reason why the US fans were pissed off after the Costa Rica match was not becuase US lost 3-1, but because of the WAY we lost. Teams like Spain may lose to Costa Rica but they will never lose like the way US did.

  14. So Japan & Chase, then why did I and everyone else on these boards scream bloody murder after the costa rica loss if european teams would face the same fate??? It just doesn’t seem likely to me that they would. But if you are right, then maybe we do deserve that 14th world ranking and we really are a good team. I guess the differences between the top teams and the lower teams is not that significant, and the difference can be mitigated by a home game.

  15. The third place teams in the last three CONCACAF final qualifying rounds for the World Cups have had 17, 16, and 14 points. 15 points would likely get you in. No 4th place team ever had as many as 15 points. Really, all you have to do is win all of your home games. Draws on the road are nice, but probably not needed. I’d amend ADG’s standings as follows, with my formula expecting home wins and road losses:

    Costa Rica 3

    US 1

    Honduras 1

    Mexico 0

    El Salvador -4

    T&T -4

  16. @Boguslaw

    I totally agree that the US would really prefer to finish 1st in qualifying in hopes of getting a seed in the WC group draw. However, look at what happened in 06′. We won CONCACAF, were ranked AHEAD of Mexico in the FIFA rankings, and somehow Mexico was given the 7th seed over us, and we ended up getting screwed with a terribly difficult group, and Mexico got an undeserved easy group.

    Looking at the remaining schedule of 5 games, 2 are at home, and 3 are one the road. I think we get 6 points at home, and 2 (loss at Azteca, ties at T&T and Honduras) on the road. That would put us at 18 points, and qualified. However, it would be great if we could find a way to get 5 on the road (tie at Azteca, win at T&T, and tie at Honduras). 21 points would probably win the Hex.

    However, assuming for a second we did finish 2nd behind CR, I have a really hard time seeing CR getting a group seed over the US in the WC draw…however, I thought us getting a seed over Mexico in 06′ was a no-brainer too…

  17. Personally, I hope Mexico ends up in 4th with a shot at the 5th best team in CONMEBOL. If their play improves, they could win that series, thus getting 4 Concacaf teams into the WC.

    To me Mexico would have a better shot at beating a Urugray, Ecuador, or Venezuela then Honduras or El Salvardo.

    Posted by: Huskies01 | June 08, 2009 at 12:57 PM

    I disagree, Honduras at this point is stronger than Mexico. They finished first in the last round in their group which included Mexico. Also Honduras has already beaten Uraguay and Ecuador in the past year so I think they are more capable than Mexico.

    the only concacaf team with any realistic chance of winning a single game at the world cup are US and Mexico. Teams like Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador are terrible away from home and will not get a point in the world cup. That will make the concacaf look worse than what people already think.Posted by: japan | June 08, 2009 at 12:29 PM

    I don’t think that you are taking into consideration how much Honduras and Costa Rica have improved. Honduras is not terrible away from home they can win away thats why they finished 1st in the last round. I think that you are also overlooking the strength of their players, they have probably the best attack in concacaf with Costly and Suazo (Pavon as a sub) and a great midfield with Guevara, Rambo de Leon , and Wilson Palacios. Thats pretty much a nasty lineup. Their defense isnt as great as their attack but that really is there game attack is. I think that people need to start taking teams like Honduras and Costa Rica more seriously because they have improved vastly over the last couple of years as opposed to Mexico which keeps going backwards.

  18. Jerry, I’m not saying Costa Rica will win. I’m saying that they will not get dominated. Ronaldo was non exsistant on Saturday at Malta when they won 2-1 in stoppage time. Costa Rica is better than Malta. Czech do not have the players anymore. Italy cannot attack. Spain will have difficult time knocking the ball around on the turf in that atmosphere.

    Turtle, I agree with you. Costa Rica is going to South Africa on home form only. They will not do anything in the World Cup. Same can be said about Honduras to an extent. Therefore, I still stick to what I say about US and Mexico being the only realistic countries from concacaf that can get a result in South Africa. Yes, I know US and Mexico’s away forms are not good but they have the players and experience that Costa Rica and Hondorus(bar Palacios and Suazo) do not.

  19. @ Jerry

    Portugal did not exhibit anything near “utter domination” when they suffered a draw to mighty Albania at home. They have actually been pretty poor since being eliminated from the Euros last summer.

    September 5th is shaping up to be a pretty interesting day as far as qualifying is concerned.

    In Group 1, Sweden is away to Hungary and Portugal are away to Denmark. If each fail to win, Sweden and Portugals’ hopes of qualification are pretty much dead in the water.

    On the same day in Group 3, the Czechs need to win away to group leaders and archrivals Slovakia (who with a win could lock up at least a playoff spot), to have a legimiate shot at qualification.

    Also, Group 2 leaders Switzerland and Greece go head to head. While, Croatia, Ireland, and Scotland face must wins against Belarus, Cyprus, and Macedonia to solidify their standing among the best 2nd place teams.

  20. I think the US is essentially on par with the 06 and 02 teams, which is weird considering how much more “talent” we have now. BB?? In 02 the team had moxy and surprise and an Asia WC. In 02 our young guys came onto the scene providing the spark. Ironically, I argue the same thing needs to happen in 10′.

    In all honesty, I think Concacaf deserves 2.5 spots, but I’m not complaining.

  21. how can you say that??? you are saying spain would have a hard time dismantling cost rica’s defense in costa rica??? I think Italy could shut out costa rica no matter where they play: the moon. spain would crush them. Christiano ronaldo would have no problem cruising through their flanks and scoring away for portugal….the czechs could do it too. One reason, all of these teams, sadly, are night and day better than the u.s. and they have the confidence to go with it.

  22. Jerry – I don’t think any team from Europe (or SA for that matter) with any respect would play an 11 on 11 futsal match in CR. They would be too worried about getting injuries. Those types of teams require grass being put down when they play in the US. They won’t even play on modern field turf let alone that carpet they play on at Saprissa.

    Honduras and El Salvador have definitely improved. All one has to do is look at their line-ups. Check out the clubs they play for and compare that to 4 years ago. I have no respect for CR. I’m suprised they got a result in TNT. They have gotten results away from home 27% of the time while the rest of the hex teams are near or above 50%. They are an example of a team getting to the WC only on their home record.

  23. No team in the world will dominate Costa Rica in Costa Rica, or Mexico in Mexico, or US in US in a game that matters. Can they win? Sure they can but it will never be easy. It is possible to dominate El Salvador in El Salvador though.

  24. okay, but what about portugal??? definitely utter domination in all of those situations. Teams like that do not get intimidated anywhere, definitely not in costa rica or el salvador. they go in to enemy territory with confidence, and rightly so, they have earned it.

  25. hmmm. i actually think we could have something for the czechs if the game were played here. if the game were in that massive communist stadium in prague it would be 7-0.

  26. Jerry,

    I don’t think Czech would dominate Costa Rica in Costa Rica, or Mexico in Mexico, or US in US.

    Sweden, Mexico, Portugal, Czech, Croatia and Cameroon are the biggest teams in danger of not making SA2010 unless they sort themselves out.

  27. it seems to me that we almost should lose a spot if the world cup is supposed to have the best 32 teams in the world. Is it true that teams like czech republic may not qualify??? They would dominate costa rica in costa rica…make costa rican monkey dolls out of em and shove the mexican voodoo dolls up their own mexican butts….not to mention dominate the u.s. in u.s.

  28. FOR ALL YOU MORONS OUT THERE… If you want the game to truly grow from a media coverage standpoint…then you desperately want Mexico to qualify… You already have trouble with ratings for soccer here and taking away half of the audience would be tragic… granted most of the Mexican-American pop watches the matches on SP language channels it still is taken into account when companies choose to sponsor commerical free broadcasts etc… Mexico needs to squeak just in.

  29. angler23,

    true, true but then I say thank you Asia and Oceania. Since the Aussies are now part of Asia, we’ve got some time and especially seeing how and Asian country will not be hosting this tournament for another 12 years at the earliest. I think we’re alright UNLESS we have some serious crash and burn in the next tournament but I have faith in one of the weaker Asian teams taking on that role (Saudi Arabia immediately comes to mind). We can’t rely on the African teams since in my opinion Africa will finally have a team medaling in next year’s tournament – maybe Cote d’Ivoire or Ghana. Nigeria & Cameroon seem to be in cycles of change and CAF champions Egypt just haven’t convinced me that they can do it on the World Stage but I didn’t expect them to win last year’s tournament.

  30. in response to Personally, I hope Mexico ends up in 4th with a shot at the 5th best team in CONMEBOL. If their play improves, they could win that series, thus getting 4 Concacaf teams into the WC.

    To me Mexico would have a better shot at beating a Urugray, Ecuador, or Venezuela then Honduras or El Salvardo.

    Posted by: Huskies01 | June 08, 2009 at 12:57 PM

  31. that sounds like a nifty scenario…though i would prefer our 4th place team to be costa rica, and the team they beat is the 5th place team argentina…now that sounds like fun.

  32. Mexico is in big trouble actually…They will have a tough battle against the Conembol team…

    As far as CONCACAF seed, forget about that. We will be drawn in a tough group no matter what..And we will almost certainly be in the Group of Death if Cobi Jones picks the ping pong ball for us…;)

  33. Felix,

    I hope you are right and I am wrong. I don’t think the rest of CONCACAF is getting better, I think the US and Mexico have taken a step backwards from 4 years ago. I do agree that El Tri will qualify, though. Sigh.

  34. “If you look at the qualifying strategy of needing to win at home and draw on the road, the current qualifying looks like this (+ or – based on expected points)…”

    This is the best way of looking at things, except that the expected points for road games should be zero (which is the converse of the expected points for home games of 3 – the teams can’t all win at home and draw on the road).


    1. Costa Rica +3

    2. USA +1

    3. Honduras +1

    4. Mexico 0

    5. El Salvador -4

    6. T&T -4

    El salvador is really not in good shape.

    USA wins its 2 remaining home games, it qualifies. If not, they might need some points on the road.

  35. Al17,

    With the exception of 2002, if you are looking at results in the last 3 World Cups for CONCACAF, there is some cause for concern at losing a WC birth if we send a weak group that does not include Mexico.

    In the last 3 tournaments, Mexico is the only country to get out of the group stage in all 3, with the US the only other team getting out once (2002). In 2006, CONCACAF sent 4 teams, and after 12 group stage games, those 4 teams garnered a grand total of 6 points, 4 of which were for Mexico. Thus 3 out of the 4 teams only managed 2 points.

    Now given the corrupt FIFA system and the ridiculous amount of power wielded by Jack Warner, I’m not terribly worried about losing a slot any time soon. However, when you consider the strength of some of the teams that don’t make it from Europe and South America, CONCACAF should be worried if the teams we are sending can’t perform in the finals. Questions will be asked.


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