MEXICO CITY - The Mexican National Team faces Panama in the second to last CONCACAF Hexagonal game. No one would have imagine Mexico would come into the final two World Cup qualification matches in huge risk of not making the World Cup. But the reality is that After 8 games in this Hexagonal, Mexico are in 5th place; only the 1st three teams make the World Cup directly and the fourth place team goes to a playoff series against New Zealand.
Mexico vs Panama is scheduled for Friday October 11 at 8:30PM local time (6:30PM pacific time) from the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
El Tri's opponent Panama is the team that is in that fourth place playoff spot for which this is a crucial must win game for the Mexicans. Panama and Mexico are currently tied on 8 points and a win by either team will see them pull three points ahead of the other with one game left. It doesn't get anymore important than that.
Due to the troubles Mexico find themselves in, manager Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre was fired from his position. This will be new manager Victor Manuel Vucetich's first game in charge of the team.
Because of the urgency the National Team finds itself in Vucetich was allowed the luxury of working with the local National Team players from Monday to Wednesday each week for the past three weeks. This has lead the manager to have his team "80-90%" established according to Tuesday's press conference. Only a handful of European based players are joining the squad for which there should be a lot more team chemistry.
The repercussions of Mexico missing out on a World Cup are unimaginable from financial to social on both sides of the Mexico/US border. El Tri needs to win this game against Panama to keep their World Cup hopes alive.