Paolo Rossi cannot comprehend why Mexico have not done better at the FIFA World Cup™.
El Tri have participated in 15 editions of the tournament – a total surpassed only by Brazil, Germany, Italy and Argentina. They have, however, never gone beyond the quarter-finals and been eliminated in the Round of 16 in six successive instalments.
“I don’t understand why a footballing country with 120 million people hasn't gone any further,” said Rossi, whose adidas Golden Boot-winning campaign propelled Italy to glory in 1982. “Why Mexico, who have had such good players, have not been able to do more?”
Mexico reached the World Cup quarter-finals twice – both times as hosts. In 1970, they lost 4-1 to Italy, while in 1986, they held West Germany for 120 goalless minutes before losing on penalties.
Mexico begin the Hexagonal phase of CONCACAF qualifying for Russia 2018 away to arch-rivals USA on Friday.
Rossi made one appearance against Mexico, hitting a hat-trick to inspire a 5-0 Italy victory in 1984.