Mexico is coming off one of its best victories of not only 2016, but in its recent World Cup qualifying history. The 2-1 win over the USA broke the “Dos a Cero” curse, and emotions are at an all-time high for the Mexicans. However, that could be problematic because qualifiers in November are not over…
Mexico heads down to take on Panama in what could be an even more heated game than when they faced the USA. Panama is coming off a win, and it was a massive 1-0 victory as the guests in Honduras.
Juan Carlos Osorio will not have several players at his disposal for this match up. Carlos Vela returned to Spain for the birth of his child, Carlos Salcedo, one of Mexico’s most talented defenders, is suspended after seeing a double yellow on Friday, and Andrés Guardado picked up a slight knee injury against the US.
That doesn’t mean that Osorio’s squad can’t get a result, but it does mean that they will need their total focus on this game. As mentioned, the win in Columbus was the most monumental win since their 2-0 victory in 2015 on the road in Honduras, so not letting the high of the previous win affect them should be the top priority.
Veterans need to lead the way
Mexico is no stranger to claiming victories against Panama, yet, Panama will be playing with a lot of passion. There has been a mild rivalry boiling between these two dating back to the 2013 miracle goal scored by Raúl Jiménez. After that match, Panama complained to FIFA that Chaco Giménez was added to the roster illegally for Mexico, despite the fact he was given the “OK” to play for Mexico after once representing Argentina.
Players like Giovani dos Santos, Oribe Peralta, Héctor Moreno will need to look to each other to guide the rest of the team and battle the inevitable emotions. The crowd will be as hostile as any in the region, and hard fouls will plague this game, as they have in the past.
Getting any sort of points in this match will be huge for Mexico going forward. Starting the regional qualification as the road team in the first two games is a difficult task, but not impossible. The 2014 WCQ in the Hex started and ended poorly for Mexico, so the rhythm their building is already heads and shoulders above that from three years ago.
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