Three reasons why Mexico can reach the quinto partido

  • Mexico have reached round of 16 at the last six World Cups

  • They failed to advance to the quarter-finals on each of those occasions

  • provides three reasons why Mexico could break that trend in Russia

Among life’s certainties are the fact that the sun rises in the east, the earth is round, two plus two equals four, and Mexico will reach the round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup™.

The Mexicans have advanced beyond the group phase at the last six world finals but have failed to go any further on each of those occasions, with the so-called quinto partido (‘fifth match’, equivalent to a place in the quarter-finals) becoming something of a mental stumbling block for the team and an obsession for Tri fans.

The current side is hoping to break down the barrier to the last eight at Russia 2018, and offers three reasons why they might do just that.

Limitless ambition Mexico have been handed a tough draw, with defending champions Germany, the ever-awkward Korea Republic and a talented Sweden side providing their group opposition. And should they finish second in the section, there is every likelihood they will be facing Brazil in the last 16.

Yet, while some may see that particular outlook as bleak, Mexico’s leading players have a different take on things.

“We want to be world champions and that’s what we’re aiming for. We don’t want to put any limits on ourselves. Some people complain that we’re not being realistic, but the reality is that if you don’t dream and strive for more, then you’re the one who has it all wrong.” Forward Javier Hernandez

A generation brimming with experience For the first time in their history, Mexico will head to a World Cup with a squad in which over half of its members play their club football in Europe.

While none of them run out for any of this season’s UEFA Champions League semi-finalists, many of El Tri’s key players have maintained very high standards with some big clubs in Europe’s most important league championships.

That European nucleus includes Hernandez (West Ham United), Miguel Layun (Sevilla), Hirving Lozano (PSV Eindhoven), Raul Jimenez (Benfica), and Hector Herrera, Jesus Corona and Diego Reyes (Porto), to name but a few. Together, they form a solid core that can be relied upon to perform in Russia.

“We have a solid group of players with experience in Europe’s biggest leagues. If Raul, Javier and Hirving are on top of their game, then we can score against anyone.” Coach Juan Carlos Osorio

Players who know each other inside out As many as 16 of the players who appeared at Brazil 2014 have featured in Juan Carlos Osorio’s plans over the last year, and most of them will be reappearing on the big stage this coming June.

The Colombian coach is in charge of a group that has been together for a long time, and as they themselves have said, the atmosphere in the dressing room has never been better.

“The boss has all but decided who’s going to be in the squad: the same tried and tested players he called on for the qualifiers and the Confederations Cup. He doesn’t have any doubts about his players, aside from the odd injury, but that’s only to be expected. The core of the team is there and that helps to calm the nerves of the players when thoughts turn to our rivals, to prepare as best they can.” Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa