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Mexico aims to end Azteca drought
September 6th, 2013 12:47AM
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TAGS:  mexico, world cup 2014


[HEXAGONAL: Matchday 7] It's 1v2, 3v4 and 5v6 on Matchday 7 of World Cup 2014 qualifying in the Concacaf zone. For third-place Mexico, which hosts Honduras at Azteca Stadium, it's all about scoring goals -- something it has yet to do in three scoreless draws at home. Panama hosts Jamaica in a must-win game for the Canaleros.

The days of the talk of Mexico's golden generation are over, and Luis Manuel de la Torre is expected to rely on veterans like 2012 Olympic hero Oribe Peralta, Fernando Arce, Christian Gimenez and Gerardo Torrado to scrape out a win against Honduras, which returns giant central defenders Victor Bernardez and Mayor Figueroa, who were missing when the Catrachos fell to the USA, 1-0, in their last qualifier.

The mood in the Mexico camp has improved since Mexico's First Division club presidents chose to keep Chepo and El Tri hammered Ivory Coast, 4-1, in a friendly.

But everything isn't rosy with El Tri. French-based goalie Guillermo Ochoa joined Carlos Vela of Real Sociedad in boycotting the national team.

Panama is the only team in the Hexagonal that has never played in the World Cup finals and needs the three points against Jamaica, loser of its three June qualifiers, to stay in the hunt for at least fourth place and a berth in the November playoff against New Zealand.

Panama reached the final of the Gold Cup following a pair of victories over Mexico, but Coach Julio Cesar Dely Valdes says he's worried about the Reggae Boyz, who have nothing to lose under new coach Winfried Schaefer.

"I haven't been sleeping well," Dely Valdes said on the eve of the match.

Hexagonal Standings:
13 USA 4-1-1 7/3
11 Costa Rica 3-2-1 8/4
8 Mexico 1-5-0 3/2
7 Honduras 2-1-3 6/7
6 Panama 1-3-2 5/7
2 Jamaica 0-2-4 2/8

Hexagonal Schedule:
Sept. 6
Costa Rica-USA
Sept. 10
Jamaica-Costa Rica
Oct. 11
Honduras-Costa Rica
Oct. 15
Costa Rica-Mexico

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