For you youngsters who have never experienced it, missing a World Cup is far, far worse then crashing out of the actual tournament. Costa Rica had pulled the plug on Mexico's World Cup hopes with a much deserved 2-1 win in San Jose, only to have the US plug'em back in a few miles further south in Panama. As much as I believe that Mexico is unworthy of the good fortune they received last night, and as much as a part of me is heartbroken for the Canaleros, a few of moments of clarity hit me right before I had decompressed enough to get a few hours of shuteye.
The first: in the battle of who deserved to play New Zealand less, Panama ultimately came out on top.
Another: if Mexico would have lost out, would the FMF have looked into trying to buy Costa Rica and relocate them to Mexico?
The last: how the hell is Switzerland going to be a seed?
It went down to the wire of course. I switched over to the US Panama game after Miguel Tejada had secured their second goal, seemingly the one that would keep their World Cup dreams alive. Why did I switch over? Because I knew that the US had a much better chance of equalizing than Mexico did. Sure, Mexico had won the previous game with a moment of luck, skill, and brilliance. But that was clearly the exception, not the norm, especially in 2013. The US has been a habitual offender in the act of scoring late winners.
Panama should have known better. Let's hope that they learn from their mistakes and build on the experience. They have potential, let's hope they don't ignore it.
What was Mexico's excuse? How did they go from prohibitive favorite to qualify for a World Cup spot to sending edible bouquets to Brad Davis, Graham Zusi and Aron Johansson for doing them a huge solid? It is certainly something will be examining in more depth over the next few days.
Yes, the US helped keep Mexico's World Cup dream alive but it also postponed (temporarily at least) Mexico's other national pastime of eviscerating their "sporting heroes" when they are down. Who am I kidding? The pitchfork and torch businesses in Mexico will see a very acute spike in sales as the entire country will get in line to kick'em while they are down. TV Azteca's announcer Christian Martinoli, didn't even wait for the match to end.
Make no mistake, this is an abject failure for Mexico. And at this moment, there is no reason to think that they should be considered the favorites against the Kiwis in their playoff next month.
But at least they still have the privilege to do so, as unbelievably undeserving as it seems.