World Cup 2006 Preview - Mexico

Outright Odds: 40/1
Group D Winners: 13/8

As per usual, Mexico, ranked in the World's top 10, had an impossibly easy qualifying path to the finals in Germany. After hammering Dominica 18-0 across two legs, they won all six matches in Stage Two of qualifying in a group which contained fellow qualifiers Trinidad & Tobago and football heavyweights St Vincent / Grenadines and St Kitts and Nevis. 

The final group saw them lose two matches, away to the United States to whom they finished the group as runners up on goal difference and their final match at Trinidad & Tobago. They did however, net 22 goals in the process, making them the group's top goal scorers overall.

Those two defeats within 90 minutes were the first endured under manager Ricardo La Volpe since he took over in October 2003, with his side beating Brazil 1-0 in the Confederations Cup and also taking both Germany and Argentina into extra time. No matter how easy a passage into the finals Mexico may have had, there is no denying they can mix it with the "big boys" when the occasion arises.

They have appeared in 12 World Cups and reached the quarter final stages in both 1970 and 1986 when the tournament was held on home soil. However, they haven't faired so well in recent finals, suffering a 2-0 second round defeat by rivals the United States in 2002 and bowing out 2-1 at the same stage to Germany in 1998.

Following a not-too-taxing qualifying process, they will be delighted at being seeded and being placed in arguably the weakest group of the tournament. They should have no problem qualifying for the second round and Lavolpe's coveted 3-5-2 formation should serve him well in the opening stage.< 

The formation is used to benefit striker Jared Borgetti, who plundered 14 goals through the qualifying campaign while Jaime Lorenzo struck 11 times from midfield.
However, ironically what used to be the team's main strength could now be a major weakness. Borgetti has flopped at Bolton Wanderers and is just a bit-part player while fiery striker Cuahtemoc Blanco may not even feature in the finals squad. 

Where Mexico do boast a genuine world-class player is holding player Rafael Marquez, who plays just in front of the defence for both club – Catalan giants Barcelona and his country. Goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez is in the form of his life too so while Mexico may not be the force in attack they used to be, they will certainly be a tough nut to crack.

Recommended Bet:
Being seeded in such a weak group means there is no value in backing Mexico to qualify for the second round. They don't play fellow seeds Portugal until the final round of fixtures and if both sides have already made it to the last 16 by then, a draw could be on the cards.

Portugal vs Mexico draw @ 5/2

website design by Web School.
Share this article :