As I type this, México is playing Scotland in a friendly match in the Despedida for El Tri. The French would call it the Au Revoir or Bon Voyage game. It has become tradition to play a last friendly before the World Cup at home to wish the players good luck. This has been going on for the last seven World Cups, including this one. Yes, that means México is one of only six countries to be in every World Cup since 1994. Only Brazil, Germany, and México have also qualified from the Group Stage to the Knockout Stage in every World Cup since 1994.
Unfortunately, México also has another World Cup tradition: Losing in the first knockout game in every World Cup since 1994. It’s actually quite extraordinary.
But let’s begin at the beginning.
In México, fútbol has been played since the end of the 19th century. C.F. Pachuca, the oldest club in México, was founded in 1901 by Cornish miners that brought the game from England and an unfortunate love of monarchy. Wait, the English?!?
Yes, the English. México has had influence from many European countries besides Spain. You may know a little holiday known as Cinco De Mayo?
It actually commemorates the Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. True to Mexican form, it’s rarely noted that the reason the French showed up in the first place is that the Mexican government decided not to pay its debts to French, British, and Spanish creditors. Mexicans eventually lost that war and were, for a brief period, ruled by an Austrian monarch (Maximillian) installed by France in an effort to affect European power dynamics. This was aided, of course, by Mexicans looking to establish a monarchy in México (Thanks Britain!).
Yes, my birthplace is a land of many contradictions.
It is not coincidental that Mexico City’s main street, the Paseo De La Reforma,
is modelled after Paris’ Champs Élysées
You can see it in the trees planted along the edge and an additional road on the side to accommodate turning traffic.
There is also German/Austrian influence in México thanks to the above-mentioned war and occupation. You may have tasted it in the beers
or heard it in the music.
Why do you think the norteña music of Northern México sounds so much like Bavarian Oompah music?
And, obviously, Spanish influence for obvious reasons.
The Mexican National Team has a history as rich in contradictions as the country it represents. It is, and has been for decades, the best team north of Brazil in the Americas. It has also achieved success, being one of only 8 countries that have won two of the big three national team fútbol tournaments, the World Cup, The Confederations Cup, and the Summer Olympics.
At the same time, it has, outside of World Cups it hosted, never advanced past the first elimination game. Let’s take a look at the Tale of The Tape:
|World Cup||Eliminated In||Final Position||Matches Played||Wins||Draws||Losses||Goals Favor||Goals Against|
|USA 94||Round of 16||13||4||1||2||1||4||4|
|France 98||Round of 16||13||4||1||2||1||8||7|
|Korea/Japan 02||Round of 16||11||4||2||1||1||4||4|
|Germany 06||Round of 16||15||4||1||1||2||5||5|
|South Africa 10||Round of 16||14||4||1||1||2||4||5|
|Brazil 14||Round of 16||10||4||2||1||1||5||3|
Current FIFA Rank: 15
Current ELO Rank: 16
So, as Mark Sanchez can attest, Mexicans feel comfortable in the teens.
17 JUN 2018 – 18:00 Local time, 08:00 Pacific, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
GERMANY v MÉXICO
23 JUN 2018 – 18:00 Local time, 08:00 Pacific, Rostov Arena, Rostov-On-Don
SOUTH KOREA v MÉXICO
27 JUN 2018 – 19:00 Local time, 07:00 Pacific, Ekaterinburg Arena, Ekatering
MÉXICO v SWEDEN
The first game is the most difficult with a tie being the best realistic case scenario. The other two games come out to wins as the best cases, ties as the most realistic, and losses as the worst. Ze Germans just lost a friendly against Austria, of all teams, and haven’t exactly set the world on fire in the lead-up to the World Cup having tied England 0-0, France 2-2, Spain 1-1, and lost to Brazil 1-0 and today Austria 2-1. They’ll probably destroy Saudi Arabia in their last friendly, but a tie in the opening game is likely.
Traditionally, the Germans start slow anyway and react, so this bodes well as South Korea and Sweden will likely feel the wrath after an initial tie. The group qualification, then, will depend on what México can do against those two.
I say the Mexicans tie Germany in the first game and then beat the Koreans and tie the Swedes. That likely takes them to second place in the group and a date with Brazil. So, a likely 7th straight exit in the Round of 16.
But wait a minute! There is something else to consider.
There is a strange triangle in fútbol in the Americas between México, Brazil, and Argentina:
Brazil usually beats Argentina. Argentina usually beats México. México has, in the last two decades, found success playing against Brazil.
México beat Brazil in the 2012 Summer Olympics for the Gold Medal.
They also beat Brazil in 1999 for the Confederations Cup.
In the last World Cup, Brazil were drawn in the same group as México. They tied their group game and finished tied on points. Goal difference gave Brazil the top spot.
All this is to say that México will not be intimidated should they match up with Brazil in the Round of 16. Don’t be surprised if they pull off the upset (sees King Hippo taking notes).
Miss México World 2018 (to represent México in Miss World):
You know what? Just watch this:
The cuisine of México is as rich and varied as any in the world. There are many regional specialties and specific dishes famous in certain regions. However, I will settle for one, which is, to be fair, the dish that everyone associates with México: The taco.
Please note that these look nothing like the tacos known and served in the US. I’m going to pull an Archer here
and say that a true Mexican taco only has five ingredients:
1- Two small corn tortillas (never flour)
4- Freshly chopped onion
That’s it. As you see in the picture above, lemon and radishes are typically supplied with an order of tacos to cut the spice in the salsa and to add a bit of optional flavour in your mouth.
And the tacos are best served in these types of places:
Right on the street.
Nigeria México is a land of contrasts. Thank you.
Editor’s Note: We have a World Cup Pool!! Please click the link below to sign up:
The pool password is “Balls”
As always, there will be a fabulous prize given to the winner. Join today!!