"Complicado" is Spanish word you'll hear players and coaches use a lot in terms of a match or series.
Yes, Mexico's World Cup 2018 draw is complicado. Definitely not impossible or
difficult, but complicated.
World Cup 2018: Draw helps the hosts, spares others In the new FIFA draw mechanism, El Tri earned a "second seed" so it should be favored
to advance to the round of 16 as one of two teams in Group F.
And it should be favored against Sweden (despite the Swedes' victory over Italy in the European playoffs) and South Korea
(ranked ahead of only Saudi Arabia and Russia among the 32 finalists).
Mexico's problem is two-fold: its opening game and its round-of-16 match if it advances as the second-place team.
El Tri opens June 17 against defending champion Germany at
Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, the main World Cup stadium. If it loses -- and it will be the underdog -- Mexico will have no margin for error in its next two games against South Korea in Rostov June 23
and Sweden in Ekaterinburg June 27.
A bigger issue is that Mexico would face Brazil, the heavy
favorite in Group E, if it finished second and Brazil won its group.
Indeed, Mexico could beat Germany in its opening game and sweep its group, but no one would remember if it didn't win
its next game.
El Tri has reached the round of 16 in the last six World Cups and has lost every time. Only once has it won a game in the knockout phase: 2-0 against Bulgaria when it
hosted in 1986.
Mexico in round of 16: 1994: Bulgaria (1-1, 1-3 PKs) 1998: Germany (1-2) 2002: USA (0-2) 2006: Argentina (1-2) 2010: Argentina (1-3) 2014: Netherlands (1-2)
Coach Juan Carlos Osorio and his players
will be judged by one thing in Russia: whether they get over that hurdle at the start of the second stage.
Osorio acknowledges Mexico will be going up against the best team in the world: "Germany,
the current world champion, with a system that’s not only enviable but sets the example for a lot of countries."
Joachim Loew is taking his third team to the World Cup and managed
to rebuild the current team with a pool of players, as Osorio pointed out, is 35-40 deep.
Germany beat Mexico, 4-1, in the 2017 Confederations Cup semifinals, but Osorio said that result
"Remember in the Confederations Cup," he said, "we unfortunately didn’t have Carlos Salcedo or Diego Reyes, but I think if everyone is healthy and good
athletically, we can compete against them and hopefully play this day with them." Also missing was Porto winger Jesus "Tecatito" Corona.
Osorio is confident in his team's ability
but he said he is counting on divine support.
"We are going to ask the Creator," he said, "for that extra that one needs on our side."