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his is an article, the Mexicans feel like second favourites. Let's hope they're wrong.

SA Comment: Mexicans Confident of Group G Success
News Archive

To the second round we go! (Allsport)
05/25/2002. 05/25/2002. Mexican sports programming has spent every night over the past several months examining every aspect of their seleccion in relation to the other teams in Group G. On any given night, a program may comment on anything involving Croatia, Ecuador and Italy, from Boksic's thigh to Ecuador's midfield to Maldini's hair. The programs show the oppositions' press conferences, departing flights, and their friendly match results as if they were Mexico's very own side.

Amid the nightly World Cup hoopla, the Mexican media machine seems determined to get one thing clear; Mexico must advance to the second round. And in fact, most Mexicans seem quite confident that the task will be done.

How can Mexico be so certain of its seleccion, a scrappy team that qualified only through a do or die qualifying finale?

El Tri's resurgence under Coach Javier Aguirre appears to be the leading cause of Mexico's confidence. Aguirre took over El Tri in crisis. Mexico had earned only four points after completing half of their qualifying matches. At that time, earning a spot in the World Cup seemed highly unlikely.

But Aguirre brought instant results; a win against the United States followed by a win against Jamaica brought Mexico back in qualifying range. Under Aguirre, Mexico dauntingly earned 13 points in its final five qualifying matches to secure its trip to World Cup 2002.

Although Aguirre is often criticized for the apprehensive style that he drills into his team, the results would suggest that he knows how to win with the product that is available to him. He relies heavily on his defense to not only defend, but to also initiate attacks.

Aguirre's defensive center piece, Rafael Marquez, may be the true toast of Mexico's squad. At only 23, Marquez just completed his third year in the French First Division at Monaco. He is a tough tackler, terrific on free kicks and can play the ball well too. Real Madrid made an inquiry into Marquez before, and a strong World Cup should make a top level Spanish Liga team takers on his services.

Another reason why Mexican media and aficionados alike are confident of their team's World Cup success is due to their European refined front line. Together, Mexico City natives Francisco Palencia <../04/14088.html> and Cuauhtémoc Blanco <../04/10322.html> make up the strongest Mexican front line in recent memory. Whereas Mexico's sole threat was Hugo Sanchez in World Cup '86, Palencia and Blanco can both play effective striker, support striker or attacking midfielder roles, making them harder to mark than one dangerous striker.

Of the two forwards, Francisco Palencia is currently in better form. He saw plenty of action in Spain's La Liga this year, netting 6 times with Barçelona's Espanyol, and was often a formidable accomplice to bomber Raul Tamudo.

Palencia, 29, earned recognition in last year's Copa Libertadores final against Boca Juniors. He was dangerous in both legs of the final and scored in the return leg in the Bombonera to carry his Mexico City side to a penalty shootout against the heavily favored Argentines. Although Cruz Azul lost the shootout, Palencia's play earned him a ticket to Spain. Palencia has returned from his year abroad in better physical condition, a more dangerous ball handler and a more skilled finisher.

Cuauhtémoc Blanco too played in Spain's La Liga, completing his second full season at Valladolid. He however found the net only three times in an up and down season. Aguirre received the former Club America (Mexico) player in bad physical condition and seemingly out of form. Since Blanco's early May return to the national side, he has found his sharp form once again. Many consider the 29 year old to be more creative than Palencia, thus making him Aguirre's most valuable asset.

In Group G, however, Mexico finds no easy prey. Making it to the second round will be a testament to the development of Mexican football. The fact that many Mexicans remain confident despite their group being labeled by some "the mini group of death", goes to show how confident Mexicans are as to their football's growth.

Against Croatia, many believe that a draw or a win is a possible result. Mexico was hammered by Yugoslavia in a "Croatian simulation" friendly back in February, but it was without its aforementioned Europe based talent. The loss of centerpiece Igor Tudor along with the ageing Croatian attack has only made the conviction firmer.

Mexico's second round equation is virtually incalculable without a victory against its next opponent, Ecuador. Ecuador finished second in Conmebol qualifying and should be capable of putting up a fight. Still, most expect Mexico to win. The belief is that Mexico will use its World Cup experience to beat the untested Ecuadorian side at a familiar Latin American style game.

Then, many feel Mexico can squeeze out a draw against Italy. The hope is that Italy is already qualified for the second round and plays in its classical "this match means nothing to us" mindset.

If things go wrong and Mexico doesn't reach the second round, the people will be saddened, but they will never give up on their team. Not a chance. And in four years, the confident national press will fuel a confident nation and all will look upon the national team to appease its masses once again.

soccerage
 

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You know what??? Let them be confident, and once again, just as 4 years ago teams are underestimating Hrvatska and I love it because when we beat them they will have nothing to say. Jamaica had similar things to say 4 years ago. Well, we shocked everyone but ourselves 4 years ago, and now I guess we will have to do it once again. Mexico will be a tough team but we have enough to beat them.
 

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Ye i hope they underestimate us cause thats playing into our hands.. no doubt overall we are a better side but one thing that does worry me is they appear to have hit form at the right time :rolleyes:

I just hope we do ;)
 

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I've seen enough of Mexico through CONCACAF and they're a good team capable of progressing through to the second round. I think though, that they're lacking in the technical aspects of the game and while they're good tactically, they're nothing we can't handle. Add to that the physical battle, where we undoubtedly have a huge edge and I can see a 2 goal victory for us.
 

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One thing about Mexico..they like to attack, and are extremely vunerable to the counter attack...they may get away with this in CONCACAF but not against top teams considering that they are not as good as they were in the past.
 
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