New Zealand last played a competitive game in March whereas Mexico have been through less ups than downs all this while. If El Tri are in with a chance of appearing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, it is greatly thanks to the Americans. On the final day of the World Cup qualifying campaign in the Hexagonal, USA staged an unbelievable 3-2 comeback in Panama City at the delight of the Mexicans who fell 2-1 in San Jose. In an interview with FIFA.com on Tuesday, New Zealand forward Chris Wood revealed:
“We were hoping for Mexico to lose and for Costa Rica to win their game, but Panama just couldn’t hold out for those last couple of minutes. At the end of the day it’s what the draw has given us so it’s going to be a tough match, but I don't see why we can’t win it.”
The 21-year-old Leicester City forward added:
“We played Mexico a few years back, with over 90,000 supporters at the Rose Bowl in the USA. That was amazing and with more than 100,000 at this game it’ll be a great occasion and hopefully one that we can get a positive result from.”
In the double-header against the All Whites, the Mexicans will have to count on themselves. There will be no American redemption. The last time El Tri missed out on world football’s biggest event was in 1990. To avoid a repeat of this misfortune, the home crowd at the Azteca will have to play a major role even if 60 per cent of fans believe that their team does not deserve to reach the 2014 FIFA World Cup, according to a poll in October. Missing out on the showpiece in Brazil could cost broadcasters and sponsors more than $600M.
“We'll do it here. I'm sure that Mexico will get the advantage so we can relax in Wellington and finish the job,” coach Miguel Herrera assured in the pre-match press conference.
“This is the idea: to take care of business at home. That's why we have a local team. We have players who are used to playing at this altitude.”
Villarreal’s Giovani dos Santos and Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez can forget about playing a part in the playoffs. Herrera, who is Mexico’s fourth appointed manager in the space of six weeks, has not called any European-based star as he has opted to go local.
The country’s U-17 team recently suffered bitter disappointment at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Dubai as they lost 3-0 to Nigeria in the final of the tournament. Mexico’s senior side will be hoping to put smiles on the faces of their fans come Wednesday.
Watch Mexico vs New Zealand live on Wednesday, November 13, 2013:
In UK at 20:15 BST on: Premier Sports