MÉRIDA, YUCATÁN – It’s time for football. For our friends from north of the border, I should clarify that we mean “football”, not “American football”. In fact, north of the border friends, did you know that the USA has a pretty good national football (i.e. soccer) team, which has recently been going from strength to strength under manager Juergen Klinsmann?
The 2014 football world cup begins on Thursday, June 12th, and the USA, along with Mexico and 30 other nations, will be competing. Unfortunately neither Mexico nor the USA has a realistic chance of bringing the cup home; we can dream however, and this writer will be enthusiastically supporting Mexico all the way.
We’re hoping to see our local readers in Mérida out and about supporting Mexico, the USA, or their choice of the other competing teams.
The Mexican national team’s greatest moment in recent years was their victory at the 2012 Olympic football tournament in London, where a squad composed mainly of the under 23 year old team beat favorites Brazil 2-1 in a thrilling game with an unexpected result.
Since then however, the Mexican side has been lackluster at best; in recent months though there has been something of an improvement under new manager Miguel Herrera; and last week, in their final game on Mexican soil before the world cup, Mexico handily beat Israel 3-0 at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Although not a tough opponent by any means, it was a boost to the home team’s morale to leave the country on a high note.
Last Saturday’s friendly game against Ecuador in Dallas, TX resulted in a 3-1 victory for El Tri (as the Mexican team is commonly known), although a potentially problematic setback was the injury to star player Luis Montes, who will now not play in Brazil.
Tuesday’s friendly game against Bosnia in Chicago was a poor showing by Mexico, ending in a 1-0 loss to Bosnia Herzegovina.
One final friendly game (against Portugal) remains in the ‘USA tour’ and will take place this Friday evening at 7.30pm Mérida time, in Foxborough, MA.
After that, the Mexican team will be heading quickly to Brazil, to begin intensive training before their first game, against Cameroon, on Friday 13th of June. Not an auspicious date in some Anglo cultures… however in Mexico, Friday 13th is not considered unlucky (that honor goes to Tuesday 13th), and we look forward to the first of many victories on the road to the final.
For the schedules, groups, and matches in the upcoming World Cup, see here: http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/index.html