Will Mexico buck their last-sixteen trend?

21st May 2010 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup 2018 Betting Predictions
World Cup 2018 Betting Predictions

No team from the CONCAFAF zone – North America – Has ever lifted a FIFA World Cup trophy aloft for all to see, and with the USA and Mexico likely to be their biggest players in South Africa, that win-less trend looks set to continue past South Africa 2010. The Mexicans, though, seemingly have the better chance of making some real in-roads in the forthcoming 2010 finals but their tendency to bow out at the Round of 16 is a major concern ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, with Mexico having been knocked out at the Round of 16 stage in the previous four World Cup finals.

1986, on home soil, was the last time Mexico evaded the dreaded last-sixteen stage of the tournament, 24 years ago. However, while that may seem a tad spooky and frustrating if you’re a Mexico follower, the sheer consistency of Mexico bypassing the group stage is a big positive and a factor which should fill punters with confidence about the chances of Mexico easing past a Group A consisting of two former World Cup winners and the hosts; South Africa, France and Uruguay. The obvious danger are France, a team packed with quality and gifted individuals, but both South Africa and Uruguay are beatable, the Africans especially, whom have never made it any further than the group stages of a World Cup, while Uruguay, who used to be a big player in World Cup’s in the early days of the tournament – Winners in 1930 and 1950, have rarely even made an appearance since, failing to qualify for the World Cup in 1994, 1998 and 2006 while they came up short in the group stage of Japan/Korea in 2002. On paper, neither South Africa nor Uruguay boast formidable World Cup statistics, at least not recently, so Mexico, who do at least boast some group stage consistency, remain a very good bet to make the last-sixteen part of the competition once again if statistics and trends are your thing.

The problem with Mexico, and the main reason why their price to progress from Group A is so appealing, is their lacklustre efforts during qualifying. The fans back home feel they have a team good enough to be genuine contenders this summer, but the start they made to qualifying for the finals was horrific, losing their opening two qualifiers. Javier Aguirre was indeed their saviour at the Mexico helm. Masterminding a Mexican revival with the help of forward great, Blanco. Mexico, in the end at least, somewhat eased through to South Africa after a five-match unbeaten run in the latter stages of qualifying, winning four, ensured they finished strongly and with qualification in the bag. While it was a bumpy ride, the positive spin you could put on it is that Mexico finished strongly, hopefully turning over a new leaf, and head to South Africa with plenty of form and momentum.

The Mexican team on the whole is a mixture of bright, young prospects and experienced warhorses. Barcelona’s Rafael Marquez will be the chief commander in defence, alongside PSV centre-half Francesco Rodriguez and his PSV team-mate Carlos Salcido. In midfield, a player with huge potential, and possibly a big future in the game, really needs to show his worth in South Africa, as former Barcelona bright-spark Giovanni Dos Santos, who endured a pretty miserable stay in the English Premier League, needs to shine and deliver in a midfield containing Deportivo’s Andres Guardado, another player with a bright future ahead of him, and Alberto Medina, who has scored a few goals in international friendlies in the build up to the finals. Up front, at 37 years-old, Cuauhtemoc Blanco will look to spearhead the attack, passing on his valuable experience during the course of the finals after having scored 38 times for his country in 114 caps. Arsenal’s Carlos Vela has had his fair share of critics in Mexico, and in England for that matter, so he’ll have a point or two to prove, while new Man Utd recruit Javier Hernandez is said to be the next best thing in Mexican football – next best forward anyway – and so he’ll need to match the hype surrounding him with an impressive tournament if given the chance by coach Javier Aguirre.

Do we honestly feel Mexico have solid claims in Group A? Yes we do. While the team has been massively underachieving and under-performing in recent years, the fact Mexico haven’t reached their potential but have still qualified for South Africa is a massive plus point, while it also means Mexico still have plenty of room to peak, and if there run back in Germany 2006 is anything to go by, bowing out once again at the Round of 16 stage after a valiant performance against Argentina, Mexico should go close to having the chance of putting their last-sixteen record to bed. Their first match is against the hosts, so they’ll need a quick and bright start before they take on the group favourites France in the second group encounter.

Were Mexico to bypass Group A with little fuss, it looks likely that Argentina will await them in the Round of 16, thus increasing the odds that Mexico could once again, for what would be the fifth time in a row, bow out at the Round of 16. If they could somehow finish top of Group A, although that would require a victory over France by the looks of it, Mexico would receive a favourable last-sixteen draw, probably against either Nigeria, South Korea or Greece.

Mexico World Cup Bets:

Mexico Top CONCAFAF Team – 6/5 SportingBet
Mexico to Qualify from Group A – 9/10 Expekt
Mexico to Reach the Quarter-Finals – 7/2 PaddyPower
Mexico to Reach the Semi-Finals – 12/1 PaddyPower
Mexico to be Eliminated at the Round of 16 Stage – 5/2 Ladbrokes

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* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!

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