Preview: Mexico vs. Canada

Preview: Mexico vs. Canada

Thursday will feature a rematch from the 2021 Gold Cup semi-finals as Mexico host Canada from Estadio Azteca.

The Mexicans are unbeaten in CONCACAF World Cup 2022 qualifying, after coming back to draw Panama 1-1 in their previous match, while the Canadians picked up their first victory in the Octagon, 3-0 against El Salvador.

Seeing El Tri at the top of the standings should come as no surprise, knowing that they have not missed a World Cup since being disqualified from the 1990 tournament for using overaged players in a U-20 competition in 1988.

After three matches, they are in good shape to make an eighth successive trip to the finals, with seven points so far.

It has been a busy year for Gerardo Martino and his team, who have played 17 matches, making it to both the CONCACAF Nations League final and then the Gold Cup final, but losing on each occasion to the USA.

Penetrating their well drilled defence is no easy task, with El Tri conceding only one shot on target in each of their opening two qualifiers, while they have maintained 10 clean sheets so far in 2021.

Mexico should be supremely confident going up against the Canucks, who have not beaten them in more than 21 years, scoring a total of 16 goals versus Canada in their previous seven encounters.

However, the last time they faced their neighbours to the north, the Canadians gave them all that they could handle in their Gold Cup semi-final, with the Mexican defence under duress numerous times and El Tri scoring on virtually the last action of the game, with a goal in the ninth minute of injury time, winning 2-1.

Even though they have rarely had issues making it to the World Cup, 2018 was the first time since their 1998 campaign when Mexico were able to finish first in the final stage of qualifying.

An inspired performance in Toronto last month has breathed new life into the World Cup hopes of Canada, who are looking to qualify for the finals for the first time since 1986.

After having to fight their way back to earn a draw versus Honduras and the US in their first two games in the Octagon, they were miles ahead of El Salvador in their last match, scoring three goals before the game was even an hour old, while not conceding a single shot on target.

In that match, they had to deal with some very physical Salvadorian players in a chippy affair that tested their composure, but in this upcoming match, Canada will deal with a whole other challenge, and that is the heat and hostility that is Mexico City.

To say that Canada have struggled against the Mexicans would be an understatement, scoring only one goal in their last seven visits to Mexico, with their best result being a 0-0 draw in a 2000 friendly.

After three games, they already have five points, which is only one less than their entire total the last time they made the final stage of World Cup qualifying in the 1998 campaign.

The Canucks failed to earn a single point away from home that time around, but they already have one in these qualifiers, drawing the US 1-1.

John Herdman collected his 22nd victory as the Canadian men’s national team manager as he has worked his magic with this team, leading them to 10 wins so far this year.

Mexico World Cup Qualifying – North Central America form:
WWD
Mexico form (all competitions):
WWLWWD
Canada World Cup Qualifying – North Central America form:
DDW
Canada form (all competitions):
LWLDDW

We say: Mexico 2-0 Canada
This may not be the same Canadian team that we have seen get completely dismantled and overwhelmed when playing under the intense Mexican heat and even more intense crowd but the fact remains that the Mexicans always seem to possess a little more quality across the board than the Canucks.

Given some of their past results against Mexico at the Azteca, a 2-0 defeat would be quite flattering for the Canadians, who have never beaten El Tri in Mexico.

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