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09/08/2013

A Mexico soccer disaster unfolds

Mexico Honduras Socce_NostMexico is on the cusp of failing to qualify for the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament, and this is tantamount to national shame.

Honduras dealt Mexico a humiliating 2-1 loss Friday night in Azteca Stadium.

The loss knocked Mexico into fourth place for qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil. Only the top three teams in the North, Central America and Caribbean division get a ticket to the World Cup, while the fourth will go into a playoff series against Oceania winner New Zealand.

Mexico has punched its ticket to the World Cup every time since 1990. So its current predicament is the subject of anger. Only hours after the loss, authorities axed coach Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre. Fans chanted for his head at the stadium Friday night, and they got it. That's De la Torre in an AP photo above.

Honduras’s feat was extraordinary. It became the first team since Costa Rica in 2001 to win a World Cup qualifier at the Azteca, a pantheon to soccer that often holds more than 100,000 manic fans.

The U.S. and Mexico national teams play this Tuesday, and tensions will be sky high. Mexico nearly has to win to keep alive hopes of going to Brazil.

But get this: Mexico’s team has not won – or even scored a goal -- against the United States in the three qualifying games at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, since 2001.

Interim Mexico coach Luis Fernando Tena has one task ahead of him: Find that mojo that helped him carry the Mexico national team to a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. It’s been lost , and now even Mexico’s best players are suffering a crisis of confidence.

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pink schnoid

pretty amazing, it would be a national disaster if la selccion fails, I mean, the team is the glue that unites the country in many ways, even moreso than the catholic church...

it may be time to put to rest all those superlatives about how difficult it is to win at Azteca stadium....

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Tim

This blog is written by Tim Johnson, the Mexico bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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