The 2014 World Cup qualifiers ended in insanely dramatic fashion Tuesday night. The US Men’s National Team, cruising to qualification, trailed in its final match to Panama last night, 2-1. If Panama won, it would pass Mexico and stay alive for a playoff against New Zealand. Mexico would have been eliminated. Soccer is a much bigger deal in Mexico than it is here in the US; missing out on the World Cup would have been a national disgrace and disaster. Because the US had already won its qualification group, it fielded a reserve team for the Panama match and could easily have lost to a Panama side that had everything to gain. The US team could have just laid an egg and ensured that its bitterest soccer rival was knocked out.
The US trailed Panama 2-1 all the way into stoppage time before rattling in two goals just before the whistle. The USA wins, 3-2, eliminating Panama and allowing Mexico to sneak into that playoff with New Zealand. All of this happened in the span of a few minutes, as Mexico was losing to Costa Rica at the same time the US shocked Panama.
So, the US and its reserve team saved Mexico’s World Cup hopes. There’s just no other way to describe it. If not for a heroic American effort at the end of the match, Mexico could only get to the World Cup in Brazil by buying tickets to watch from the stands.
The TV announcer for the Mexico loss went off on a rant that has now been translated.
It is because of the USA that we are being placed in the playoff …BECAUSE OF THEM , NOT DUE TO YOU..NOT ANY OF YOU in the green shirts ….IT WAS THEM!!.NOT YOU!..THEY DID IT!!!!!NOT YOU! remember this forever….. KEEP THIS CLEARLY IN MIND FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIVES! You do NOTHING for the shirt, you do NOT put the effort, you have NOT placed us in the playoffs , you HAVE NOT placed us in the WORLD CUP ..YOU WOULD NOT HAVE KEPT US ALIVE….IT WAS ESTADOS UNIDOS, NOT YOU! NOT YOU AND YOUR ARROGANCE/CONCEIT…..NOT YOU AND YOUR INFAMY….NOT YOU AND YOUR MORONS/PUNKS….
“IT IS A FAILURE…..and UNDESERVED -to go through to the playoff- WE HAD NO ARGUMENTS to earn the playoffs, THE USA, WITH SUBS , WITH MANY SUBS as the visiting team shows us once again what the USA is all about ….how to play the game with dignity, how to approach the sport..MExico is a horror, just terrible….A FAILURE….
THE USA HAS SURPASSED US ..They are better than Mexico in SOCCER ….THEY EVEN HAVE THE LUXURY OF PLAYING THEIR SUBS and KEEPING US LIVE…. I hope our coach wears the pants and resigns..He has failed as coach….”
There’s nothing in that to argue with. Mexico has played miserably and barely scored. The US has soared.
Mexican newspapers have followed suit, praising America for saving the Mexican team from humiliation.
The official US Soccer Twitter feed got cheeky.
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) October 16, 2013
Here’s to hoping Mexico’s more unsporting fans remember this the next time they’re tempted to throw disgusting things reminiscent of a Wendy Davis filibuster at US players, or think about chanting “Osama” from the stands.
But the pessimist in me says that Mexico will now brush New Zealand aside and end up eliminating the US from Brazil in the knockout stages. There’s just no thanks for being a Yank in this world.