The stars are aligning for Mexico

Posted by Rafael Ramos Villagrana


MEXICO CITY -- Let's not be suspicious. Let us rather believe that the stars have aligned in a sudden, surprising, accidental, and strange way to aid Mexico's World Cup pretensions.

We must be careful to not get carried away by suspicions, nor fall into the trap of the cynics and snipes who believe that several circumstances have come together in an underhand and Machiavellian way by unsavory methods used by those who want to take Mexico to the World Cup by any means necessary.

1. For example, the Surinamese referee, with a name as unintelligible as are his actions on the field, who was replaced at the last minute because he remembered, according to a FIFA statement, that he had very personal problems to deal with.

Following from this, the person appointed for the Costa Rica match is Walter Lopez, a Guatemalan who is notorious among Concacaf countries for his suspicious decisions and performances.

We have reported, lest we forget, in Raza Deportiva on ESPN Deportes Radio, the full details of the petition by Panama, Honduras and Costa Rica, put before FIFA and copied to the Concacaf, that no Central American referee be appointed for the two last games of the Hexagonal.

And for starters, they award the Mexico-Panama game to Joel Aguilar Chicas, the second best referee of the area, but whose image, authority, and personality were demolished after caving in to pressure and allowing the USA vs. Costa Rica game to be played in the snow.

But please, I beg you, do not be taken in by this perverse and unsavory Tsunami created by suspicious and unhinged minds, who think that all of this is happening just to help out El Tri.

2. Up to only a few weeks ago, Jurgen Klinsmann had planned to use exclusively MLS players in the final two games of the Hexagonal, and rest his European-based players.

This decision suited Panama, as after playing Mexico this Friday, they finish next Tuesday against the USA.

Something made Klinsmann change his mind so that in the end he will field his powerful squad, probably his strongest team possible, against Jamaica and Panama.

And once again don't be suspicious: Klinsmann surely wants to win in both games and top the table in the Hexagonal; to be able to put forward his claim to Concacaf; to be considered first seeds in the World Cup Draw will which take place in Salvador, Brazil, in December.

Also, don't forget that Enrique Saenz, the Concacaf secretary general, assured on Raza Deportiva on ESPN Deportes Radio that the organization would not lift a finger to help El Tri qualify for the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

3. And it seems impossible, or nearly impossible, that this one was set up or manipulated in some way: Costa Rica has 13 players on a yellow card, and we are not talking about substitutes or emergency call ups, but rather important players such as Borges, Perez, etc.

FIFA, who often changes its position in this area, establishes that players who begin the group stage of the World Cup with any yellow cards have their slate wiped clean.

On the other hand, if they receive a second yellow card in the last game of the qualifiers, they will miss the first game of the World Cup.

And the quandary for Jorge Luis Pinto is: which and how many of the players who are on a yellow card should he use against Honduras, who are also vying for direct qualification for the World Cup, and on top of that in a fixture well known for its roughness due to the soccer rivalry between the two countries?

Because those who receive their second yellow card against Honduras will not be able to play against Mexico. And those who arrive with a yellow card against El Tri, in a game which could be very intense and physical, will be taking extra care in order to not receive that second yellow card which will keep them out of the World Cup.

And Pinto is aware of this. He said so on Raza Deportiva: "I'm not going to lie, everyone in Costa Rica is asking me to beat Mexico, that pressure is real."

But Pinto knows that Costa Rica supporters don't want to concede anything to Honduras either, which is coached by his countryman Luis Fernando Suarez, who needs to win at least three of the six possible points to secure a playoff spot, and with four, surely direct qualification.

This brings us to the scenario that whether those whose interests would be damaged by the elimination of Mexico clamored to the heavens, or rather, to the heavenly powers of soccer.

Would anyone be so severely, roughly, cruelly, and totally hurt by Mexico not qualifying for the Brazil World Cup, to think that they would resort to using underhanded methods to help El Tri make an amazing comeback?
Of course not.

Would Mexico's soccer industry mind that they will lose out on at least 800 million dollars over the next four years, according to several serious financial studies?

Definitely not. Nor would the television stations or the 43 sponsor companies of the Liga MX, the Copa MX, and of the clubs.

Would Brazil, as the host country, mind the absence of the Mexican supporters' contingent, which normally follows Mexico to the World Cup?

Of course not. According to figures from the Foreign Ministry, between 30 and 35 thousand Mexican supporters attended each of the World Cups of France, South Korea / Japan and Germany, 11 thousand were present in South Africa, and 6 thousand at the Brazil Confederations Cup, a much smaller tournament than a World Cup.

Surely, the country, which takes its place: Honduras, Panama or New Zealand, can send those 30 to 35 thousand supporters which it is hoped will make the trip to Brazil.

There are no reasons to think, then, that an organization could direct its tentacles towards helping Mexico receive just that little bit of help it needs, to help it overcome the obstacles which it may not be able to do with its soccer.

Because, of course, as a Mexican referee once said to an important striker: "You want me to give you a penalty, but you can't even control the ball in the penalty area."

Indeed, the first thing that Mexico has to do is to play soccer again, something that it has forgotten how to do in this Hexagonal.

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