México Actually Wins a Penalty Shootout

Mexican fans you know the routine. In an elimination match, you better hope that El Tri wins in the first 90 minutes or if not then manages to put the match away during the 30 minute overtime, why?

Because as all of us know, Mexican fútbolistas are inept at taking penalty kicks. The memories are many and are painful.

There was the ’86 World Cup quarterfinals when ze Germans bested México 4-1 in a penalty shootout. While it’s easy to blame then Mexican goalie, Pablo Larios, let’s keep in mind that his teammates couldn’t beat the German keeper. [Let’s not even mention Hugo Sanchez’ annulled goal, grrrrrr]

Then there was the ’94 World Cup Round of 16 against Bulgaria. Even though, yes Mexican keeper Jorge Campos (below right) could have better lived up to the hype his ridiculous jersey’s generated, his teammates wilted at the 11-meter dot and couldn’t buy a penalty kick. The Bulgarian keeper was the Germans and my countrymen’s penalty takers were the French.
Jorge Campos

On a lesser scale there was the harrowing loss to the hated Argentines in the 2005 Confederations Cup. In that case, my countrymen made their kicks only to have national team luminary Ricardo Osorio miss a sudden death penalty kick.

My point with all this historical hash is that my countrymen have shown an iniquitous ineptitude to execute penalty kicks and/or block them. What do you expect when your goalies’ height haven’t even come close to 6′? (This is slowly changing)

All that changed last night when my native land’s 11 bested Costa Rica in a penalty shootout in the Gold Cup Semifinal.

The frustrated/jubilant thoughts of a Mexican after the jump…

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El Tri Finally Lives Up to the Perpetual Hype

Perhaps it was the fact that they were playing in the new stadium of the Dallas Cowboys, easily the most over-hyped American professional sports team, but México finally played a game worthy of the hype that perpetually emanates from my native land.

They trounced the seemingly hapless Haitians yesterday in the Gold Cup quarterfinals, 4-0.

It’s hard to find any negative aspects to the way my countrymen played, heck even my favorite whipping boy, Capt. Gerardo Torrado, played a decent game. Miguel Sabah, Torrado’s heir to the throne in my whipping boy hierarchy, scored twice. What is this world coming to?

Most importantly, the guy who holds the keys to El Tri’s future, the electrifying Giovanni Dos Santos, had a stellar perfromance. He netted a spectacular goal right before the half.

Here’s a pic of right before he took the shot:
Gio

The Haitian players seemed overwhelmed by a relentless Mexican attack, but according to their coach Jairo Rios,

The biggest fear wasn’t Mexico. These players are used to playing in front of 2,000-5,000 people. With 80,000-plus cheering for Mexico, there were players whose legs were shaking.

This match was the first time since perhaps El Tri’s victory over Brazil in the 2007 Copa America that it was an unexasperating thing to watch this team. The passing was crisp and they were able to finish near goal. Let’s hope they can continue at this level all the way to the final where surely the Norteamericanos will be laying in wait.

By the way Cowboy Stadium looks great but I doubt that it will ever look better than this:

Mexico

Yes, the Mexican flag is gloriously displayed in what is the biggest high-def television in the world (160′ x 72′, 11,520 square feet).

You can watch the highlights in the following video:

[H/t on video: Soccer by Ives]

This Should Drive any Fútbol-loving “Minuteman” Bonkers

No, I don’t refer to the usage of a Spanish word in reference to the group of ‘concerned’ citizens which has done so much to bolster US-Mexican relations (below).

MinutemanAP
Where’s the love?

Rather, this is in reference to the fact, that as of right now, the highly-anticipated World Cup qualifier between US-México on August 16 will not be aired in English in these United States.

Which, for this transplanted Mexican, is not that big of a loss, and this for a variety of reasons. First, ESPN would have been the channel to air the match and we don’t have cable. Secondly, even if we did have cable I’d much rather watch fútbol on Spanish television.

Whether it’s Telemundo with Andrés Cantor or Univision/Telefutura with Pablo Ramírez and Jesús Bracamontes, the Spanish guys call a much better game than anything ESPN can put together.

As for my monolingual fellow fútbol fans who are trying to get a petition going to get the game in English. What in the world for?

Telemundo will carry the game and none other than Mr. Cantor will provide exciting play-by-play. Granted, it will be in a language you won’t understand but who’s counting? Spanish is everywhere you turn and give or take 50 years, oh never mind.

Besides, events like Tim Howard’s bellyaching (gloriously captured below) back in February are much more colorfully presented in Español.
SOCCER-WORLD/

Yes, I know Rafa Marquez is a dirty player, and hit Howard. However, I also know that the replay showed that on this particular play, “El Pato” Howard as Univision’s Pablo Ramirez so lovingly calls him, hit Marquez hard on the back. Rafa gets tossed, Howard stays in the game, oh well. I won’t get into how Giovanni Dos Santos was dragged down in front of the U.S. goal.

As far as August 12th is concerned, to paraphrase an infamous movie character, soon we will reveal ourselves to the Norteamericanos, soon we will have revenge.

México Dominates Guadalupanos

No, not the followers of my native land’s most famous idol (below),
Virgen de Guadalupebut rather the team from the tiny French region of Guadeloupe.

Granted, such domination only earned my paisanos only a 2-0 vic.

As much as I’d like to hem and haw over México’s inability to trounce the representative team from a tiny archipelago that isn’t even a member of FIFA, I won’t since a win is a win and said win gave México first place in 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup’s Group C.

The tone of this post will be positive, why? Because noted Mexican whipping boys, Gerardo Torrado and Miguel Sabah scored the only goals in the match (Torrado’s strike was a golazo).

I have been known to  anguishing over the decision to give Torrado the Captain’s armband.

Dude just makes too many mistakes with the ball. His passes are errant, turnover is his middle name, ok ok I’ll stop, gotta stay positive. As for Sabah, he’s new to El Tri and he’s wasted more scoring opportunities than, oh never mind.

On a positive note, it is becoming obvious that every time midfielder Giovanni Dos Santos touches the ball, something magical has the potential to transpire. He is a bona fide playmaker, now the only thing that stands between 2-0 victories and 6-0 beatdowns is a competent man or two up front to consummate the opportunities Gio generates.

By the way, it’s about time to see goalkeeper Memo Ochoa make the type of save during a match that he only makes in Allstate commercials (around the 0:31 mark),

How weird is it that the altar at the beginning of the commercial could easily be one dedicated to the idol at the top of the post?

México’s Nigerian Nightmare Signs with AC Milan

Oguchi Onyewu, the man who has done more damage to México since Gen. Winfield Scott, has been signed by AC Milan, one of the premier fútbol/football/soccer clubs in the world.

Whereas Gen. Scott stormed Chapultepec Castle and unintentionally gave us Mexicans one of our most beloved, if not over-romanticized,heroes, Onyewu, Team USA’s world-class central defender, has been terrorizing Mexican strikers and forwards since 2004.

Here he is abusing another one of my native country’s over-romanticized heroes, striker Jared Borghetti,
Oguchi Onyewu

Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

Onyewu, who is of Nigerian descent, has been a huge reason why México has not figured out Team USA in nearly a decade (at least on American soil).

While playing with the Rossoneri will make Gooch (as Onyewu is affectionately called) even more formidable, and this bodes ill for my beloved Tri, the signing is well-deserved. His recent performance in the Confederations Cup (especially against Spain) showed that he is world-class.

Maybe Team USA Thought They Were Playing México

It is quite possible that the only people who thought that the U.S. Men’s National Team had a shot against Spain, FIFA’s #1-ranked team, were the 11 guys on the pitch and their half-Vulcan coach (only thing missing are the ears, must be an autosomal recessive allele).

The best some fans of the red, white and blue were hoping for was at least a good showing (i.e. an 0-2 loss).

Prose and verse could be committed to endless reams of paper in praise of the American back line, the main reason Team USA pulled off the upset. Most notable among them was central defender, Oguchi Onyewu.

Univision’s Pablo Ramírez glossed him “Oguchi the Omnipresent” in reference to Onyewu blocking and winning balls all over the pitch. “Oguchi, siempre, Oguchi…”, another Ramírez instant classic.

I watched the match twice (part of it during my lunch hour, and the whole thing in the evening when Telefutura replayed it) and one thing became evident to me.

Team USA’s performance looked eerily familiar, why? Because their effort yesterday mirrored what they put on display when they play my beloved Tri. Opportunistic scoring and impregnable defense are the hallmarks of the Americans’ game against their bitter rivals to the South.

The only difference, of course, is that yesterday, the Spanish players didn’t employ any of the classless tactics sometimes employed by my countrymen (below).

rafa marquez

Congrats to Bob Bradley and the rest of Team USA.

México 2, Belize 0: Mini-Flags, Plastic Shofars, and Meximullets, Oh My!

Went with my pops and my youngest sister to last Sunday’s World Cup qualifying match here at Reliant Stadium between my beloved Tri and Belize. Took my trusty Kodak Z740 and took some shots of the game.

As to El Tri’s performance, they did not play as well as their talent level would suggest. Yes they did win, but their inability to finish around the box was glaring. Arsenal wunderkind Carlos Vela (below) played up front for most of the match and missed a clear put back.

Vela did redeem himself later by nudging in a rebound off a free kick for Mexico’s first (and winning) score. Here he is celebrating that score with some of his teammates,

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