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Mexico Grabs Momentum Back in Border Rivalry

  • SI.com, Friday, August 14, 2009 4:30 PM
As much as domestic soccer fans might not want to admit it, what is clear coming out of Wednesday's wince-worthy letdown, coupled with the 5-0 Gold Cup catastrophe, is that whatever psychological edge the USA once had over its border rivals during these last several years is all but gone. "Beating the Americans in consecutive games for the first time in more than a decade," writes Luis Bueno, means "Mexico has officially regained its swagger."

While Mexico still has some work to do within the Concacaf Hexagonal to book a ticket to South Africa, Bueno believes that "by the time the seventh and eighth games roll around, Mexico very well could be in the driver's seat, or at the very worst in prime position, to secure a World Cup berth that, just a couple of months ago, seemed in jeopardy."

So how did Mexico get its groove back? According to Bueno, it all began with Javier Aguirre, whose "unearthing and revival of domestic talent" like Isreal Castro, Miguel Sabah and Jonny Magallon "is nothing short of a masterful stroke." Adds Bueno, "while his Gold Cup roster initially seemed to raise concerns over the validity of fielding what was then an untested group, now these trials by fire have turned around the national team."

 

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