SportsNation Blog Archives World Cup Soccer
There's a lot at stake today for Mexico in the first leg of its World Cup qualifying series with New Zealand. A spot in the World Cup, sure, but also pride, the jobs of the coaching staff, and potentially up to $600 million in revenue from TV rights, ticket sales and the like. Mexico needed a U.S. win over Panama in stoppage time to get this far, but despite their struggles, El Tri will likely be well-motivated against a vulnerable New Zealand side. A World Cup without Mexico might be easier for the U.S., but there'd be a deficit in excitement if the two sides had no chance of meeting in Brazil.
Here's a sampling of what readers had to say in our Facebook conversation on the story:
Winners at home?
Mexico is on its fourth coach in six weeks, a situation that doesn't lend itself well to stability or tactical coherence.
USA's win benefits Mexico
The United States and Mexico are fierce rivals on the pitch, but El Tri found itself in debt to its longtime enemy Tuesday night. Mexico's World Cup hopes are still alive after a 3-2 Team USA win over Panama. It'll have to play New Zealand in a winner-take-all match if it wants to attempt a World Cup run in 2014, but for now, it has Team USA's backups to thank for taking their match against Panama seriously.
Team USA beats Bosnia
It looked like Team USA's 11-game winning streak was going to come to an ignominious end against Bosnia, as a couple of defensive miscues left the team in a 2-0 hole. That was before Jozy Altidore decided to go absolutely bonkers, however. The red-hot striker scored his second career hat trick, leading Team USA to a 4-3 comeback win on Wednesday. Team USA is humming on all cylinders right now, looking more and more like one of the world's elite teams.
U.S. into Gold Cup final
Team USA's unprecedented run of victories continued Wednesday night with a 3-1 win over Honduras. Landon Donovan scored twice, Eddie Johnson added a third goal, and the whole team in general looked unbeatable. The only downside: coach Jurgen Klinsmann being sent off late in the game for arguing, potentially leading to his absence from the final against Panama on Sunday.
pollcenter:category=4101+u.s.intogoldcupfinalAP Photo/Patrick Semansky
U.S. into Gold Cup semifinals
Team USA hasn't quite faced elite competition yet in the Gold Cup, but supporters of the squad have to be optimistic when considering how well the team has played. Sunday's 5-1 win over El Salvador featured contributions from a number of players, crisp passing, and more evidence that the team is embracing Jurgen Klinsmann's attacking style.