June 27, 2014
The Big Verde’s guide to Brazil 2014: Looking ahead to Mexico vs the Netherlands

(I hope he’s practicing his celebrations for Sunday)

There’s no need for tactical talk or formations at this point. You’ve all heard plenty of it. Maybe even from me through other online sources.

At this point, Mexico for better or worse have made it into the round of 16. I know that sounds a bit odd, “for better or worse,” but the national team would have actually been forgiven by many if they didn’t make it out of the group stage.

2013 was a bit of a reality check and I believe it made most Mexico fans, including myself, more humble. I recognized the fact that the CONCACAF was not a laughable group and realized that every and any game couldn’t be taken for granted. As if there were a need for more proof, three of the four CONCACAF teams in the World Cup qualified for the round of 16. That’s massively important and shows the world that our region is much more than “Mexico/United States and friends.”

Going into the World Cup, plenty of fans were just happy that the national team was attending. Piojo was given little time to work with the squad and many of the players were given even less time to try to work together on the field. It would have been completely forgivable if the squad crashed and burned in the group stage.

Honestly, if Mexico would have finished dead last in Group A, it wouldn’t have been an outrage. We would have all pointed to our preparation, shrugged it all off and crossed our fingers that the US national team wouldn’t win the World Cup.

Yet, now that Mexico have crossed that hurdle, a bit of their swagger has returned and so has the swagger of the fans and media. Our perspective quickly went from “Oh God, I hope we don’t lost 8-0 to everybody” to “Let’s make it to the quarterfinals!”

I know that’s a completely rational approach, I’m saying the same things, but the expectations of the national team have drastically skyrocketed after the group stage.

Luckily for Mexico, succeeding in the World Cup is all about hitting the right form at the right time, which El Tri is doing. If the 3-1 win over Croatia meant nothing to you, you can consider us no longer friends and I wish you the best of luck watching something other than futbol at the moment. Perhaps “True Detective,” I’ve heard good things and want to watch it.

I guess what I’m getting at is that we should all feel lucky about how well Mexico have done, but good lord do they look destined to shock the tournament.

No team has stood out as a dominant force so far that could get in Mexico’s way. Even the Dutch have proven to have some weaknesses. They were losing to Australia 2-1 at one point last week. Australia! Mexico are truly lucky to be where they are at, but the way the tournament is heading, it could be a perfect moment for Mexico and what a beautiful moment it would be.

Seriously, Disney would be all over the rights to the story. Could you imagine it? The drama with the coaches, the Maza middle finger, the Carlos Vela drama, Chicharito’s lack of goals. It would be gorgeous in the end if they were to win the World Cup. As long as you cast me as Chicharito. Alright fine, cast Bruno Mars as Chicharito, he is a Hernandez after all like me and Chich but better looking.

It’s weird to think that the past few years have all been in preparation for this weekend. Once I have kids, I will surely look back fondly on this tournament and discuss in detail every game. Which is genuinely weird to think about. The World Cup, for me, has always been like the beginning or end to a chapter in my life story. It’s actually a very convenient checkpoint when I look back at my past.

I distinctly remember where I was at and what I was doing when I look back to the summers of 2010, 2006, 2002, etc. I know I will remember every celebration, every yell of frustration, every shot on net. Mexico have undoubtedly been terrible the past couple of years, but nobody will remember that. All that fans will remember is their performance during this World Cup and I hope that it will be a good one.

El Tri have the capability to beat the Netherlands this weekend and if they can accomplish that, I truly believe that anything will possible for them afterwards.


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