Mexico Profile

Major Honours Confederations Cup, CONCACAF Gold Cup (11), Olympic Gold Medal
Year Founded 1923

For a long time this was the nation that ruled Northern and Central America. To this day, they are one of the region's greatest assets.

Historically the most successful team in the CONCACAF region, Mexico have qualified for 16 World Cups but have only ever reached the quarter-finals.

However, they have won 11 Gold Cups/CONCACAF Championships, the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Mexico first played international games in 1923 when they faced neighbours Guatemala three times within a week, notching up two wins and a draw.

The national team first met competition outside of North America in 1927 when they drew 3-3 against Spain. The official governing body formed in 1927 and sent a team to the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.

The home stadium of the Mexican national team is Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. It was built in 1966 and has an official capacity of 87,523, making it the largest soccer-specific stadium in the Americas and the third-largest in the world.

Estadio Azteca has hosted World Cup finals in 1970 and 1986, and will be used in the 2026 World Cup too. The stadium also hosted the finals of the 1968 Summer Olympics, the 1971 Women's World Cup, the 1999 Confederations Cup and multiple Gold Cups.

Early years at the World Cup

Mexico qualified for the first-ever FIFA World Cup in Uruguay in 1930. They lost all three group games, with Manuel Rosas scoring two of the four Mexican goals.

The defeats to France (4-1), Chile (3-0) and Argentina (6-3) sent the Mexico team home in 13th place.

Mexico didn't qualify for the 1934 World Cup, and they were among the many teams from North and South America who withdrew from the 1938 World Cup out of protest.

Bobby Charlton, England, Mexico,

Following World War II, Mexico returned to the international stage at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil. They again went 0-3 with losses to Brazil (4-0), Yugoslavia (4-1) and Switzerland (2-1).

At the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, Mexico lost both of their group games. They headed home after going down 5-0 to Brazil and 3-2 to France.

First Word Cup successes

Following nine straight losses, the 1958 World Cup in Sweden saw Mexico earn their first World Cup point with a 1-1 group stage draw against Wales.

Defeats to Sweden (3-0) beforehand and Hungary (4-0) after ended their tournament at the group stage, though.

In Chile, at the 1962 World Cup, Mexico were shut out in the first two games with 2-0 and 1-0 losses to Brazil and Spain, respectively.

In their 14th World Cup game, Mexico finally got their first win with a 3-1 defeat of Czechoslovakia, but it wasn't enough for them to advance from the group stage.

Mexico, Uruguay, 1966 World Cup,

The 1966 World Cup in England had Mexico in a group with Uruguay, France and the hosts. They drew 1-1 against France in the opener before falling to England 2-0.

They needed a win to advance but could only draw 0-0 against Uruguay and thus headed home after the group stage once again.

The big breakthrough

The 1970 World Cup was a watershed moment for Mexico. Not only did they host the tournament, but they made it out of the group stage for the first time in seven attempts.

They opened with a 0-0 draw against the USSR before Javier Valdivia scored twice in a 4-0 win over El Salvador.

Mexico progressed to the knockout round with a 1-0 win over Belgium, but their tournament ended in the quarter-finals with a 4-1 defeat to Italy.

Mexico didn't qualify for the 1974 World Cup in West Germany but returned for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. They went 0-3 with losses to Tunisia (3-1), West Germany (6-0) and Poland (3-1).

They drew 0-0 against Honduras in the final game of the 1981 CONCACAF Championship and failed to qualify for the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

Mexico was chosen to host again in 1986 when Colombia withdrew as hosts due to the increasing costs of an expanded 24-team field. This made Mexico the first country to host a World Cup twice.

They won the opener 2-1 against Belgium before drawing 1-1 against Paraguay. A 1-0 win over Iraq sent Mexico into the knockout round, where they beat Bulgaria 2-0.

Mexico then lost in the quarter-finals, bowing out in a penalty shootout to West Germany after a 0-0 draw.

Controversy, ban and return

Mexico could not participate in the 1990 World Cup in Italy after using illegal players in the qualifying rounds of the 1989 World Youth Championships.

The use of over-age players and the resulting ban from international competition saw Mexico revamp their entire association and coaching staff, with Cesar Luis Menotti leading the team to a runner-up finish at the 1993 Copa America.

At the 1994 World Cup in the United States, Mexico were fan favourites, getting group games in Orlando and Washington DC. They lost to Norway 1-0 before beating Ireland 2-1 and drawing against Italy 1-1.

That saw them win the group but they lost in a penalty shootout against Bulgaria in the round of 16 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.

More group stage success

The 1998 World Cup in France saw Luis Hernandez score three goals in the tournament as Mexico made it out of the group stage once again.

They beat South Korea 3-1 in the opening group game before a 2-2 draw against Belgium and a 2-2 draw against the Netherlands.

Hernandez scored his third goal in the round of 16, but Mexico lost 2-1 to Germany.

The 2002 World Cup started well for Mexico in South Korea/Japan as they beat Croatia 1-0 and Ecuador 2-1 before drawing 1-1 against Italy.

A CONCACAF showdown in the round of 16 ended in a 2-0 loss to the United States - the only time the near-neighbours have met in a World Cup.

Mexico finished second in their group at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. They beat Iran 3-1, drew 0-0 against Angola and lost to Portugal 2-1.

In the round of 16, they fell to Argentina 2-1 in extra time after Rafael Marquez scored his first World Cup goal.

Marquez was joined by Chicharito at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and both players scored in the group stage. Mexico drew against the hosts 1-1, beat France 2-0 and lost to Uruguay 1-0.

They again had to face Argentina in the knockout round and lost 3-1 in the round of 16 as Chicharito scored.

Recent years

At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Mexico opened with a 1-0 win over Cameroon and a 0-0 draw against Brazil.

Marquez and Chicharito both scored in a 3-1 win over Croatia as Mexico advanced to the knockout stage. In the round-of-16, they lost to the Netherlands 2-1.

Mexico, Brazil, 2012 Olympics

The 2018 World Cup in Russia marked the eighth straight time Mexico had advanced out of the group stage. They beat Germany 1-0 and South Korea 2-1 as Chicharito and Carlos Vela scored.

Mexico fell to Sweden 3-0 in the final group game and were eliminated by Brazil 2-0 in the round of 16. Mexico have now lost in the round of 16 in their last seven World Cups, being outscored 14-5 in those games.

Rivalry with the United States

The biggest rivalry for Mexico by far is against their northern neighbours, USA.

Mexico have never lost a competitive game against USA at Estadio Azteca, and their friendly defeat to the Americans in 2012 was the first on Mexican soil in 75 years.

The rivalry dates back to 1934, when the US won the first game 4-2. Mexico didn't lose again until 1980 with 21 wins and three draws in that time.

Before 1990, Mexico dominated the series with 22 wins, with USA winning just twice. However, during the 1990s, Mexico won just five times out of 14, with six draws, and from 2000-2020 Mexico trail the series 14-9 to the US with six stalemates.

The US won back-to-back games for the first time in 1994/95 as the tide began to turn. Beginning with the 2002 World Cup qualifier in Columbus, Ohio, Mexico lost 2-0 in four straight World Cup qualifiers in the US plus the 2002 round-of-16 game at the World Cup.

The rivals have met in six Gold Cup finals, with Mexico winning five times through a combined score of 16-4 with four clean sheets.

Mexico claimed titles over the US on American soil in 1998, 2009, 2011 and 2019, while winning in Mexico in 1993. The lone US win was a 2-1 victory in 2007.

Mexico's top players

The most capped player in the nation's history is defender Claudio Suarez with 177 appearances from 1992 to 2006.

Midfielder Andres Guardado has won 163 caps since 2005, while defender Rafael Marquez played in 147 games between 1997 and 2018.

Chicharito is the top scorer in Mexico's history with 52 goals in 109 games since he debuted in 2009. He recently surpassed Jared Borgetti, who scored 46 goals between 1997 and 2008.

Cuauhtemoc Blanco (39), Carlos Hermosillo (35) and Luis Hernandez (35) round out the top five goalscorers in Mexico's history. Raul Jimenez has 27 goals for Mexico and plays for English Premier League side Wolves.

Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa has more than 100 caps and was named in the Gold Cup Best XI in 2019. With Mexico's win in the final, Ochoa tied a Gold Cup record with five titles.

Jorge Campos, who played from 1991 to 2014, has the most caps (130) for a Mexican goalkeeper.

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