The Beauty of Mexican Soccer
Viva Mexico! While it’s true that Mexico has never achieved the level of international success as some other Latin American countries, Mexico is nonetheless an influential nation on the soccer scene.
Playing out of the massive Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, at a mind bending height of 7, 200 feet above sea level, the Mexicans have seen much international success ranking as high as 4th overall in the FIFA rankings.
Much like the rest of Latin America, Mexicans are fanatical about the sport on both the club and international level. Children grow up playing in the streets, and the soccer culture of Mexico encourages developing excellent skills while maintaining a passion for the game.
The Mexican Style: A Hybrid Game
Because of its geographic location in North America and its Latin heritage, the Mexican game naturally plays like a hybrid between the physical North American styles and the more flamboyant South American game.
The Mexican style can at times seem slow, maintaining lots of ball possession in a deliberate build up. Without warning however, a player will make a quick run at goal, or attempt to dribble past a defender in a one-on-one situation.
Like their South American counterparts, Mexican players typically possess excellent ball control and dribbling skills, and will often dribble the ball for long periods of time and comfortably attempt to challenge each other one-on-one.
Mexican World Cup History
Most famously, Mexico is the only nation to have hosted the World Cup twice (1970 and 1986), after Colombia was forced to withdraw as the host of the 1986 tournament. Mexico, having the entire infrastructure from the 1970 tournament ready to go, was chosen as the host.
Interestingly, Mexico's best ever finish took place during the two tournaments they hosted, with the Mexican National Team reaching the quarter finals in both the 1970 and 1986 tournaments. Perhaps the extreme altitude of Mexico City provided a boost to the home team...?
Although Mexico has performed quite well internationally, it also holds the record for most World Cup defeats, having lost 22 games throughout tournament history.
Having won 5 Gold Cups (awarded to the champions of the CONCACAF region in which Mexico belongs) and routinely contending for the Copa America, Mexico remains the most consistently performing team in North America, despite the recent emergence of the United States as a strong competitor.
Mexican Soccer Players
Mexican players have had extremely successful careers including with many interesting players suiting up for El Tricolor:
- Rafael Marquez who has quietly established himself as one of the best defenders of the last decade during his tenure as captain at Barcelona, leading the Spanish club team to much success.
- Jared Borgetti became Mexican soccer’s all time greatest goal scorer scoring 46 goals in 89 games.
- Jorge Campos became famous the world over for the flamboyant goal keepers jerseys he designed and wore, but he also inspired a generation of players for playing as a goal keeper despite his height of only 5’6”.
Take a look at other soccer styles:
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