The U.S. Men’s National Team meets Mexico for the second time in the Final Round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying on June 11 at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico (8:30 p.m. ET - FS1, Univision, UDN).
Here are five things you need to know about the U.S. MNT’s archrival.
EL ESTADIO AZTECA
A large part of playing against Mexico in an away match is the trip to the famed Estadio Azteca, also known as the Colossus of Saint Ursula due to its size and location within Mexico City. At 7,200 feet above sea level, Mexico’s national stadium presents an additional challenge to any visiting team not accustomed to playing at high altitude. That, combined with the capacity crowd that has ranged from 119,000 to 110,000 to its current capacity of 87,000, provides a formidable home base for El Trícolor who didn’t lose an official match there until 2001, when it lost a FIFA World Cup Qualifying game 2-1 to Costa Rica.
Completed in 1966 for the 1968 Summer Olympics, the stadium was the first in the world to host two FIFA World Cup Finals: Brazil’s 4-1 win against Italy in 1970 and Argentina’s 3-2 victory against West Germany in 1986. It was also the site of Diego Maradona’s infamous “Hand of God” goal against England during that tournament.
- READ MORE: A History of the USA-Mexico Rivalry
Like all opponents, Mexico has largely dominated their series with the U.S. at Azteca, with the MNT going 1-7-2 in 10 all-time matches there. The U.S. began chipping into that record back when a side that was reduced to 10 men played to a 0-0 World Cup Qualifying draw on Nov. 2, 1997.
Nearly 15 years later, the USA earned its first-ever win at the vaunted stadium, using a late goal from Michael Orozco to defeat Mexico 1-0 in a friendly encounter. One year later, the U.S. earned another valuable World Cup Qualifying point a 0-0 draw in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying on March 26, 2013.
Mexico’s National Team is known as el El Tri, short for El Tricolor. The name comes from the tri-color scheme of the squad’s traditional uniforms, which consisted of a green jersey, white shorts and red socks.
The colors mimic the country’s flag, which is green, white and red with an eagle devouring a serpent. The eagle can be found on the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol’s official crest. Only recently has Mexico taken to wearing an all-black uniform as its primary kit, thanks to its uniform sponsor.
HISTORY & RECENT PERFORMANCES
With 13 of a possible 15 points at the Final Round’s halfway point, Mexico currently sits atop CONCACAF’s Hexagonal standings.
While the rest of CONCACAF will play the second game of the June matches on June 13, Mexico and the U.S. will face off two days earlier to allow El Tri to travel to Russia, where it will compete in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
The team qualified for the FIFA Confederations Cup via a two-step process: 1) winning the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and 2) defeating the U.S. (winner of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup) in the 2015 CONCACAF Cup.
Historically, Mexico has been one of the strongest teams in the region, qualifying for the past six consecutive FIFA World Cups. El Trí has also participated in the FIFA Confederations Cup on six occasions (1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2013) and won the 1999 edition of the tournament which it also hosted. It has also won the CONCACAF Gold Cup seven times.
After playing two warmup friendlies against Croatia and the Republic of Ireland, Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio trimmed his roster down to 23 players for Thursday’s 3-0 win vs. Honduras and Sunday’s match vs. the USA.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Rodolfo Cota (Guadalajara), Guillermo Ochoa (Granada/ESP), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)
DEFENDERS (6): Oswaldo Alanís (Guadalajara), Jesús Dueñas (Tigres), Héctor Moreno (PSV Eindhoven/NED), Diego Reyes (Espanyol/ESP), Luis Reyes (Atlas), Carlos Salcedo (Fiorentina/ITA)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Javier Aquino (Tigres), Jonathan Dos Santos (Villarreal/ESP), Marco Fabián (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Jesùs Gallardo (Pumas UNAM), Héctor Herrera (Porto FC/POR), Jesús Molina (Monterrey), Orbelín Pineda (Guadalajara)
FORWARDS (7): Jesús Manuel Corona (Porto FC/POR), Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy/USA) Javier Hernández (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Raúl Jiménez (Benfica/POR), Hirving Lozano (Pachuca), Oribe Peralta (América), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad)
MNT HISTORY VS. MEXICO
The U.S. Men’s National Team played its first game against Mexico in 1934, winning 4-2 in Rome, Italy, in a one-off qualifying match for the 1934 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. didn’t win another game against Mexico until 1980, with two goals from Steve Moyers in a 2-1 win on Nov. 23 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Competition between the teams has grown into a proper rivalry since 2000, with the U.S. amassing a record of 13-7-5 against its neighbors to the south. The most important victory of the modern era came at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan, during which goals from Brian McBride and Landon Donovan knocked Mexico out of the World Cup in the Round of 16 with a 2-0 score at Jeonju Stadium in Jeonju, South Korea.
The most recent U.S. win against Mexico was a 2-0 victory in a friendly at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, on April 15, 2015.