Mexico has never won a World Cup, and is looking to get over the hump of being bounced in the Round of 16. Mexico has advanced past the group stage in six straight World Cups, but has also lost in the Round of 16 the past six times. Fans have to look back to 1986 for the last time Mexico advanced past the Round of 16.
Mexico’s best finish came in both 1970 and 1986 when Mexico finished in the quarterfinals. Mexico hosted the 1986 World Cup, which coincided with El Tri’s best showing in the last 30 years. Mexico’s run included a win over Belgium, but the team was eliminated by West Germany on penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw.
Mexico may not have won a World Cup, but the country has a pretty lengthy history with the international tournament. According to History.com, Mexico played France in the first ever World Cup match in 1930.
On July 13, 1930, France defeats Mexico 4-1 and the United States defeats Belgium 3-0 in the first-ever World Cup football matches, played simultaneously in host city Montevideo, Uruguay. The World Cup has since become the world’s most watched sporting event.
After football (soccer, to Americans) was dropped from the program for the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, FIFA President Jules Rimet helped to organize an international tournament in 1930. Much to the dismay of European footballers, Uruguay, winner of back-to-back gold medals at the 1924 Paris Olympics and 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, was chosen to host the inaugural World Cup.
Mexico was banned from the 1988 Olympic soccer competition as well as the 1990 World Cup. According to The New York Times, the country was banned after Mexico was found to have four players over the age limit on a Mexican junior team.
Heading into the 2018 World Cup, Mexico was seen as a long shot to win the tournament with 80 to 1 odds. Mexico finds themselves in a difficult group with Germany, Sweden and South Korea. According to OddsShark, Mexico has +500 odds to win Group F, and much better odds at +110 to advance to the knockout stage once again.
Despite being arguably the United States biggest soccer rival, Mexico could be the most popular team in America after the United States failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Soccer.com reported that Mexico has the top selling World Cup jersey in 23 of 50 states as the map below shows.
The Guardian’s Raul Vilchis suggests Americans could root for Mexico given many people’s ties to the country.
There is no denying the strong and long-standing links between Mexico and United States. Those links are clear from the bleachers of any US soccer stadium. Since 2007, El Tri have played more games in the United States than in Mexico. And some of the team’s most enthusiastic followers are transplants to the US who may not be able to return to Mexico but are able to celebrate their culture in their adopted home.
Here’s a look at Mexico’s history at the World Cup.
Mexico’s World Cup History
|2014||Round of 16|
|2010||Round of 16|
|2006||Round of 16|
|2002||Round of 16|
|1998||Round of 16|
|1994||Round of 16|
|1982||Failed to Qualify|
|1974||Failed to Qualify|
|1934||Failed to Qualify|