In June of 2009 it seemed doubtful that Mexico would qualify from CONCACAF for the right to play in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. The team had lost three of their first four games to start the final stage of qualifying and their lone win came against Costa Rica in a home game at Estadio Azteca. Luckily for Mexico four of their last six qualifying matches were to be played at Azteca and during that six game stretch they sported a 5-0-1 record including a thrilling 2-1 home win versus the United States. They took the second spot behind the Americans in the final qualifying standings and punched their ticket to South Africa.
Mexico has been placed in Group A along with Uruguay, France, and host nation South Africa. It opens up with a game against South Africa on June 11. If they want to advance to the next round they must get their inconsistencies in check and learn how to play better away from home. There will be no easy games for Mexico even against South Africa they will be playing a team that as host will have the whole nation behind them and showed in the Confederations Cup that they can play tough. While France got into the Cup on a most controversial call they are still a very talented team and open up with Uruguay followed by Mexico so if France wins at least one of those they get to finish off with South Africa and what looks to be a win. This will mean that the group will most likely come down to the final game between Mexico and Uruguay for the right to move on.
Mexico has the talent to make a splash in the tournament bolstered by the man who was recalled to the team during the last half of the 2009 qualifying, Cuauhtemoc Blanco. This will be Blanco’s third world cup appearance. The team also returns many players from the 2006 squad such as Pavel Pardo, Gerrardo Torrado, and Ricardo Osorio. To add a spark to the experience of their veterans Mexico has two young talents poised to make noise on the world stage in all-around talen Giovani dos Santos and Carlos Vela both of whom will bring excitement to the Mexican attack. The goaltender looks to be Guillermo Ochoa with a possibility of Oswaldo Sanchez.
I like Mexico to advance from this group and have a very good shot at getting to the quarter-finals. If they finish second I expect them to take on inconsistent Argentina in the second round in a rematch of the great one the two squads played in 2006. If Mexico wins Group A outright they will face Greece/Nigeria and I like them to get past those two squads. Will Mexico win the World Cup this year? I highly doubt it but if they start to click the road to advance deep sets up nicely.
Other Group A previews: