The CONCACAF qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup have gotten keener in recent months. Aside from Canada, who seem likely to take the top spot, the other two qualifying slots are up for grabs.
The USA and Mexico are both level on 18 points – four behind leaders Canada – with four matches left to be played.
Mexico, though, are currently not on a good run of form, which has led to doubts over their qualification credentials. El Tri have not been at their best and drew in their latest qualifier against Costa Rica.
Gerardo Martino’s side has now won just one of their last six matches. The team’s underwhelming performances have raised questions over the manager’s competence.
Uninspiring Mexico held by Costa Rica
Despite boasting some great attacking talents, Mexico have usually struggled in front of goal and the story was no different against Costa Rica. Martino named a front three of Jesus Corona, Hirving Lozano and Rogelio Funes Mori while Carlos Rodriguez and Hector Herrera served as supporting cast.
Still, Mexico did not offer enough up front. The team lacked creativity and their finishing was completely atrocious.
In the end, El Tri managed just one shot on target against a Costa Rican team that was there for the taking. It was an uninspiring performance from the hosts and they will need to improve if they’re going to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.
Martino under more pressure
While improvement is needed, it remains to be seen whether Martino will be around to supervise it. The former Barcelona and Argentina manager is currently on the ropes.
Some days ago, the Mexican FA backed him but warned that there are ‘no guarantees’ about his future especially if the results continue this way.
Sunday’s disappointing draw against Costa Rica further puts Martino under pressure as Mexico prepare to take on Panama on Wednesday. Martino admitted, as quoted by ESPN:
“I can’t comment much. When a team has a football expression like ours, there is disapproval from the people, towards the team and the coach, you have to respect the opinion of the people. The game, in general, against Mexico, was bad, especially in the first half. I think we corrected it in the second half, we had more dynamics and recovery.”
“We played badly, against Panama it is a final, it is before Jamaica and after now, we have a decisive game again, obviously it is worth the chances of a place in the World Cup.”
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Mexico are still in contention to qualify for the World Cup but with Panama breathing down their neck, they find themselves in a tight corner now.