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Mexico tops Panama on a spectacular goal, gains better footing in quest for World Cup 2014

Oct 11, 2013, 11:31 PM EST

FBL-WC2014-QUALIFIERS-MEX-PAN

The work is hardly done for Mexico, but the longtime regional giant is in a much better place after Friday’s thrilling, pressure-packed 2-1 win over Panama at Azteca Stadium.

And what a way to win it, on Raul Jimenez’s spectacularly audacious bicycle kick in the 85th minute, an absolute show stopper that arrived not long after Panama’s Luis Tejada had equalized for the visitors.

Amazingly, it was Mexico’s first win at home in five matches of final round qualifying play in the region. The way it looks today: Mexico holds fourth place in the six-team CONCACAF final round group. That would put El Tri into a home-and-away playoff in November against New Zealand, with a spot in Brazil going to the winner.

There is still a chance for Mexico to pass Honduras and grab third, bypassing that white knuckle playoff series ahead. But as Honduras needs just a point Tuesday at already eliminated Jamaica to clinch the automatic berth that Mexico craves, no one should count on that.

Plus, there is also still a chance that Mexico loses at Costa Rica on Tuesday while Panama gets the result it needs to take the fourth spot, which would eliminate El Tri altogether; the Central Americans face Jurgen Klinsmann’s U.S. team on Tuesday in Panama City.

It wasn’t easy against Panama on Friday – then again, very little has come easily in the final round for Mexico. Remember, they had one loss, three draws and just one goal in four previous contests at Azteca in this round.

Oribe Peralta’s late first half goal was as well-taken – What a first touch to set up the shot! – but neither as historic or brilliant as Jimenez’s unbelievable, late effort.

Javier Hernandez had seen his tentative, second-half penalty kick saved (by LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo), adding to the drama of the night and keeping Panama in the fight.

  1. bobinkc - Oct 12, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    Watched a few minutes during my other favorite show. Wow!!! I thought the MLS guys could get rough at times! Both of these teams did just about everything but body slam each other into the turf and got away with 99% of it! Can’t figure out if it was bad officiating or no officiating. I guess we don’t have too much to complain about in the MLS roughness department.

  2. jakagator12 - Oct 12, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    Think it’s not that unlikely that Mexico still doesn’t qualify. Costa Rica and Panama both winning at home seems relatively probable, and even if both those results happen by the narrowest margins (each by a goal) Panama would advance on Goals For (unless Mexico makes up 2 Goals For while losing and Costa Rica winning).

    Really comes down to how hard Costa Rica tries, based on past Costa Rica/Mexico events and the fact that Costa Rica lost to Honduras I bet they’ll try.

  3. braxtonrob - Oct 12, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    Wow! That was the most spectacular goal (by Raul Jimenez) of all CONCACAF WC Qualifying. Awesome!

  4. wynswrld - Oct 12, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    “But as Honduras needs just a point Tuesday at already eliminated Honduras…” What?

    • Steve Davis - Oct 12, 2013 at 12:30 AM

      Brain fart. Meant Jamaica. Fixed now … Thanks for the heads-up

  5. braxtonrob - Oct 12, 2013 at 12:34 AM

    Costa Rica v. Mexico game is first up (on Tuesday), so very interestingly, if Mexico loses, … the every fan in Mexico will instantly tune in to the 2nd half of Panama v. USA & become the BIGGEST USMNT supporters in the world! Lol, that’s funny stuff.

  6. bruiserbrigade - Oct 12, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    What a goal. The big guy upstairs must be a Mexico fan..

  7. rphillish - Oct 12, 2013 at 3:12 AM

    I tuned in to the game just a few minutes before that second Mexico goal. What a screamer. Mexico’s still not in the clear though. They have, probably, their second toughest match of the hex coming up, and the US doesn’t have the greatest record south of the border. If I’m Panama, I’m liking my chances of getting that 4th spot, but I think smart money is still on Mexico.

  8. futbolhistorian - Oct 12, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Braxtonrob – All games on Tuesday will kick off at the same time.

    • braxtonrob - Oct 12, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      I think you’re right, (in my defense) I got my mis-information straight from the FIFA website.

  9. footballer4ever - Oct 12, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    A skillful, yet lucky goal, to avoid ending the game in a tie. Costa Rica initiated the “Aztecazo”, now let’s hope they do the “”Puntadazo” (kicking out) by winning against Mexico at home and hoping Panama beats USA in order to have Mexico out if the WC. The lame stories of not having Mexico in the WC is overated….the WC has done well without the likes of England and other high profile countries. Mexico is just a minnow with the complex of a football giant for all i understand.

    • vicente1302 - Oct 12, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      You are and idiot sir no offense. FIFA and Brazil are begging for Mexico to qualify because Mexico brings more revenue to them than any other country dummy check the facts…i have nothing but respect for England as they are the creators but no way are they bringing in anywhere close to as much revenue for the world cup. Mexico made more more money for South Africa than any other country and had the biggest following that traveled to the world cup. You are just a bitter jealous hater sir…”skillful but lucky” smh….u got all types of ethnicities giving props to that goal but your “haterism” blinds you.

      • vicente1302 - Oct 12, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        *an idiot* sorry typing from my phone…stupid auto-fill

      • footballer4ever - Oct 13, 2013 at 2:05 PM

        ROTFLOL- “You are and idiot sir no offense” Isn’t that the stupidiest statement ever said? Maybe not because in a world populated by a significant amount of idiots there is always someone who surpasses such expectations.

        Now to serious football-related topic, FIFA does not have to beg anyone, they just make it happen by pulling the necessary puppet strings. By your naive statement, you acknowledged that Mexico is “wanted” for other rea$on$ , but nothing having to do with football presence. The same can’t be said if an Argentina, Brasil, Germany, England among many others get to miss going to a WC, regardless of revenue potential or not. Last, but not least, the proper statement that Mexico is a minnow with a giant football complex is a fact, but your giant complex sure blinds you from understanding it. ;)

  10. vicente1302 - Oct 13, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    You read the second comment so please save it…normally i wouldn’t have bothered correcting myself but i knew i had to, dealing with AN idiot like yourself who would jump all over that chance…

    I did not mean begging Mexico i meant it as hoping and praying to themselves because they both want Mexico to qualify because they both want the money and your right FIFA could pull strings but we both know they haven’t with this team….and Mexico never claims to have the history of Brazil or Germany but we fear nobody and the whole world respects us as a football nation whether you like ot not….Mexico has a passion like very few maybe that is why you hate so badly…and when this team gets into form and has all its greatest players together Mexico can compete with anyone in the world….stop the hating senor what has Mexico done to you? Even current USA players (Donovan) and former (Alexi) are hoping for Mexico to qualify bc of their history, the passionate fans, and the following that comes with the team to the world cups….they need to put people like you of all races on an island with no water and nothing but bread and Jim Jones juice….

    • footballer4ever - Oct 13, 2013 at 9:17 PM

      ROTFLOL ;)

  11. footballer4ever - Oct 13, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    @vicente1302
    Oct 13, 2013, 7:35 PM EDT

    “You read the second comment so please save it…normally i wouldn’t have bothered correcting myself but i knew i had to, dealing with AN idiot like yourself who would jump all over that chance…”

    ROTFLOL- you sure skipped my first comment, but i can tell you keep outperforming and surpassing yourself each time. Good job!

    “I did not mean BEGGING Mexico i meant it as hoping and praying to themselves because they both want Mexico to qualify because they both want the MONEY and your right FIFA could pull STRINGS but we both know they haven’t with this team…(not calling that penalty for Panama just to call a penalty moments later in favor of Mex is not trying to pull the strings??? the fact Chicharito missed it does not take away FIFA is not trying for Mex to make it to the WC….and let’s wait what corrupted dirty hand might end up happening in Costa Rica.

    “…and Mexico never claims to have the history of Brazil or Germany but we fear nobody and the whole world respects us as a football nation whether you like ot not….Mexico has a passion like very few maybe that is why you hate so badly…and when this team gets into form and has all its greatest players together Mexico can compete with anyone in the world….stop the hating senor what has Mexico done to you? Even current USA players (Donovan) and former (Alexi) are hoping for Mexico to qualify bc of their history, the passionate fans, and the following that comes with the team to the world cups….they need to put people like you of all races on an island with no water and nothing but bread and Jim Jones juice….

    ROTFLOL, you Senor, are one funny comedian….just don’t believe your own jokes too much now….ROTFLOL…..

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