Prior to the Hexagonal round of World Cup Qualifying, Mexico had only drawn three times in qualifiers played at the Azteca Stadium. In three home games played so far in the Hexagonal round, Mexico have now drawn all three 0-0 with tonight’s game against Costa Rica being the latest.
Prior to tonight’s game, Mexico had played two qualifiers in the previous week, defeating Jamaica 1-0 and drawing 0-0 against Panama, both away from home. The hope from all ‘El Tri’ fans was that somehow, someway, the team would win and get a much needed and desired three points from a game.
The first half proved to be just as disappointing as they have been of late as Mexico came out looking flat, unable to create any scoring opportunities in the final third, and being caught asleep in the back on three occasions. It was Costa Rica, who despite arriving to the stadium late, looked the more dangerous in attack.
Despite making four changes to tonight’s starting 11, Mexico coach Jose Manuel De La Torre did not modify his tactical alignment and this was reflected as the team played too cautiously, were predictable in their attacking movements, and showed little imagination with the ball.
The second half played out much the same way as Mexico showed no change or any indication that they would be better in the final third despite making three attack minded substitutions which although saw the team create a couple of chances, these were not enough to break open the scoring in the game.
At the end of the game, the fans at the Azteca roundly booed the home team and began to chant “Fire Chepo” (nickname of the Mexico coach) as Mexico now have eight points in six games played. Depending on results in games played next Tuesday, Mexico will know where it sits when it plays its next qualifier on September 6 on home soil against Honduras.
This game epitomized all the worries and issues that ‘El Tri’ fans currently are dealing with. While not having scored at home so far in the Hexagonal round of qualifying is a worry, the bigger worry has is that Mexico are unable to even generate scoring opportunities.
Furthermore, it is clear that ‘Chepo’ De La Torre is either unwilling or has no idea of how to deviate from his preferred tactical way of playing as teams know that Mexico will play a 4-4-2 which is more of a 4-4-1-1 and all the substitutions are just replacing a player in the same position without changing anything tactically. The predictability makes it easy for teams to sit back and just play a counter attack game.
Mexico now head to Brazil to play in the FIFA Confederations Cup where they will face Italy in its first game on Sunday. They will head into the tournament being in a slump, playing without confidence, and with much scrutiny and criticism back home.