Mexico, which scored just three goals in five games at home in Concacaf’s final round of World Cup qualifying, nearly doubled its tally in a single game thanks to an emphatic 5-1 win in the first game of its two-game playoff against New Zealand at the Estadio Azteca on Wednesday. Club America coach Miguel Herrera, who was drafted in to get Mexico through these two games and into next summer’s World Cup, famously left El Tri’s European-based players off his 23-man squad, a move that now looks to have been a stroke of genius.
"People will obviously get excited by what they saw," Herrera said in his post-game press conference. "And these players are going to give everything they have to win over there [in Wellington, New Zealand] as well." He added: "The truth is that the team was in debt with the fans and we repaid it to some extent,” although, “[the debt] is not settled yet. We hope to give them more satisfaction by coming back from New Zealand and delivering to them the ticket to the World Cup in Brazil."
Herrera couldn’t say whether he would stay on as Mexico coach beyond the second game in New Zealand. "I am coach for two games and that's the reality. I have won nothing. I won a game," he said. "We're going to win the second [leg], I'm sure of it, and they [federation] will decide if I go to the World Cup with Mexico. They'll make that determination.”