Pachuca has been a solid if not spectacular for the better part of the past decade. They are one of the few teams in Mexico that have recently made heavy investments in their infrastructure. The ownership is committed to making Pachuca one of Mexico’s most prominent teams. They even market the team as el Equipo de Mexico. And the results speak for themselves. 3 Concachampions (and 1 more when it was the Champion’s Cup), 4 league titles, and one Copa Sudamericana.
Pachuca scored a last second goal last spring to defeat Cruz Azul and win the Concachampions last April. In addition to winning the tournament, they earned the right to play in Fifa’s World Club Championship.
They have been so consistent in other tournaments, so why is it, then, that when they play in the World Club Championship they look more like a team that is playing in cement than the one that won all those trophies?
They were summarily dropped by Congo’s TP Mazembe, equaling another first round set back that they endured a few years ago against Tunisia’s Etoile Sportive du Sahel.
While Mexican teams have dominated their continental tournament, they have yet to equal the finish of the only non-Mexican side to play in the Fifa Club World Cup: Saprissa’s 3rd place finish in 2005 (Necaxa had gotten a 3rd in 2002, but not in the tournament’s current incarnation).
I would be lying if I said Pachuca deserved to win the game.
Frankly, the game looked an awful lot like a lot losses by Mexican teams on the international stage: A complete domination of possession, but no imagination or composure in front of goal. Mazemebe looked far more dangerous and were justly rewarded right before halftime. It stuck, and Pachuca’s players were left with another missed opportunity.
And a lot of soundbytes describing how well they played, they just couldn’t score. It is the classic, cookie-cutter response that has become all too painfully familiar for Mexican teams on the international stage.