Oct 8, 2013, 8:35 PM EDT
Mexico’s uncharacteristically poor displays in the Hexagonal has many fans wondering whether El Tri is dead in the CONCACAF water.
But not New Zealand.
The Oceania regional champions announced Tuesday that they have set up a friendly against Mexican first division side Queretaro, preparing themselves for the style of play the expect to face in the two-leg intercontinental playoff in November.
That playoff, to be played against the Kiwis and the fourth place finisher in the CONCACAF region, will determine a berth for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
New Zealand qualified as Oceania winners after finishing top of their group, ousting New Calendonia, Tahiti and Solomon Islands in a six match round table.
For Mexico, getting to the intercontinental playoff – let alone the World Cup finals – will be anything but easy.
With the United States and Costa Rica having already booked their tickets to next summer’s tournament, one guaranteed spot remains in the CONCACAF region. Currently, that spot is in the hands of Honduras, who are three points ahead of fourth placed Panama and fifth placed Mexico.
Honduras host Costa Rica on Friday before traveling to Jamaica on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Panama and Mexico are set to duke it out in Mexico City on Friday while next Tuesday sees Panama hosts the U.S. and Mexico travel to Costa Rica.
With the U.S. and Costa Rica already having qualified and Jamaica on the brink of elimination, it’s a scenario that’s extremely difficult to predict. But wisely, New Zealand are hedging their bets and gearing up to acclamate themselves to what would undoubtedly be the most difficult style of play they could face.
- Third time’s the harm: Fan violence forces abandonment of Trabzonspor’s match with Fenerbahce 2
- If you had Pepe Reina in your “European star rumored for MLS” pool today, you win! 0
- US women lose second straight for first time since 2001 after ugly 5-3 defeat to Denmark 4
- Premier League Playback: Fifth place finish for Man United? Superstar Shaw, Arsenal’s big chance 0
- Bayern Munich star Toni Kroos fails to rule out Manchester United move 6
- Manchester United set to bid $50 million for Southampton’s star duo 0
- TV Ratings for MLS Season Opener Increase 283% in 1 Year
- Liga MX Radar: Michael Arroyo Scores a Quad
- Sounders FC Monday Morning Breakdown
- Maidana Stars in Impressive Philly Newbie Trio
- Barnsley Send Brek Shea Back to Stoke after Fight with Fan
- Yanks in Mexico: Torres Scores in Tigres Win, Garza Gives Solid Display
- Julio Cesar Put his Semester in Toronto at Risk
- Getafe Fire Luis Garcia, Hire Cosmin Contra as New Manager
- Former Sounders Teammates Rosales and Hurtado Faced off in LA
- The Clock is Ticking for Tim Sherwood at Spurs