Mexico vs New Zealand, World Cup Playoff 1st Leg: Open Thread

Time will stand still today in Mexico and New Zealand as the Kiwis take on El Tri in the first leg of the World Cup playoff in Mexico City.

For viewers in the United States, the match kicks off at 3:30pm ET on ESPN, Univision Deportes and

Starting line-ups:

Mexico: Moises Munoz; Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Rafa Marquez, Maza Rodriguez; Paul Aguilar, Juan Carlos Medina, Luis Montes, Carlos Pena, Miguel Layun; Oribe Peralta, Raul Jimenez.

New Zealand: Glen Moss, Tony Lochhead, Tommy Smith, Leo Bertos, Michael McGlinchey, Ivan Vicelich, Jeremy Brockie, Kosta Barbarouses, Chris Wood, Jeremy Christie, Andrew Durante.

Let’s be clear: Mexico is an absolute dumpster fire. For everyone else, El Tri is an entertaining mess. To the people who love Mexico, El Tri is a miserable dark cloud of embarrassment. Set aside, for a moment, that Mexico was pitifully and sorrowfully saved by the suddenly mighty USA, striking down Mexico’s superiority complex over their bitterest rival, and focus on the fact that a vocal portion of the Mexican media doesn’t even want their team to make it to Brazil, for fear of more disgrace.

Contrast that with the tears shed by the likes of Javier Hernandez when Mexico was saved by the bicycle kick against Panama, and now considered that Hernandez and every other Mexican player playing in Europe was left out of the team to face New Zealand.

That’s right: No European-based players for new Mexico manager Miguel Herrera, but he had no trouble calling up 10 Club America players. Club America happens to be the club that Herrera manages, and in any case, its another strange and potentially divisive move in the Mexico camp. Herrera is Mexico’s fourth manager in just five games. The last manager was fired after doing his job and getting El Tri to the playoff.

Herrera will try to beat New Zealand with just domestic players, which makes the task a little trickier and more intriguing.

The All Whites have been waiting for this inter-continental playoff for almost a year after wrapping up the top spot in Oceania. Because of New Zealand’s dearth of competitive games, it’s hard to know how good they are. The Kiwis’ team isn’t impressive on paper, but their 2010 World Cup performance was. New Zealand had the ironic record of being the only team not to lose in the tournament despite getting knocked out of the first round.

How much has changed since then? How much has changed since then for Mexico as well? This tie has intrigue written all over it.

Before, during or after today’s match, join the conversation in the comments section below with fellow soccer fans.

23 thoughts on “Mexico vs New Zealand, World Cup Playoff 1st Leg: Open Thread”

  1. I don’t follow Mexico that closely but did I see that they are playing only players from the Mexican league ?

    Why is that ?

        1. Saying because of the amount of travel required.. But really, guy is a coach from the league leaders on loan to the national team. 10 players from his team on the roster.

  2. So this looks like it’s going to be one sided as well. It should’ve been JRD vs. NZ and URU vs. MEX. But then again having Mexico and Uruguay in world cup is much better.

    1. Kiwi’s have had a couple ounters already… With the way El Tri has been struggling to find the net, I think this will be a very good game.

  3. I just saw the score of the Jordan-Uruguay playoff. Blatter is totally right: Asia needs more teams in the WC, give them 5 more spots, no, 7 more spots, at the expense of Europe and South America. It’s only fair…who cares that Portugal or Sweden won’t make it…the World Cup needs Uzbekistan and Jordan!!!

    1. Another thing that I don’t get is why they are using the October FIFA rankings for the draw in December? Why not use November’s rankings?

      1. Because the playoffs would boost those teams in the rankings which would not be fair on the others who do not play. It’s been explained pretty clearly.

  4. Mexico is hungry and not take away from them, but this New Zealand side is shocking…too bad there will be about 5-6 teams in the World Cup at the level of New Zealand…Panamanians must be crying watching this, about how they missed on a World Cup spot in such unfortunate fashion…

    1. Yea, this is the best I’ve seen El Tri since the Ivory Coast friendly. Not sure how much of this is the Kiwi’s and how much is Mexico.

  5. Well I guess going with just the Mexico-based players hasn’t hurt. Looks like both Mexico and Uruguay will be in Brazil after all.

  6. A total embarrassment, even by All White standards. No ambition, always defending, no ball possession, just a joke. I’m glad they are already out because they would do nothing but stain the next World Cup with their pathetic brand of football.

  7. This New Zealand side is, indeed, pure garbage…probably at the level of bottom MLS sides: Toronto FC, Chivas USA…the new Mexico coach is one jumpy fella…he will be more entertaining to watch than his team come next summer :-)

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