: El Tri
: Association Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación
: Hugo Sánchez
: Rafael Márquez
: Claudio Suárez (178)
: Jared Borgetti (37)
: 21 (currently, changes every month)
Highest FIFA ranking
: 4 (May 2006)
Lowest FIFA ranking
: 20 (November 2006)
national football team — El Tri
— is the national football team of Mexico
and is controlled by the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol (FEMEXFUT). The team is currently in 20th place, and has never been outside the top 20, in the FIFA World Rankings.
Since the 1990s, Mexico
has been one of the most consistent nations in the world having qualified for four straight World Cups, and reaching the second round on all four occasions. They have also had strong showings in the Copa America ever since their first invitation from the CONMEBOL in 1993 (although they are under the jurisdiction of CONCACAF).
Origins to 1990
participated in the first World Cup in 1930 but did not appear again in the tournament until 1950. Mexico
qualified for six consecutive World Cups including the hosting of the 1970 tournament.
Before 1970 Mexico
struggled to make much impact in the World Cup when compared to European and South American teams and won only once in five tournaments (in 1962, a 3-1 win over Czechoslovakia). Goalkeeper Antonio Carbajal had the distinction of being the first player ever to appear in five consecutive World Cups. Midfielder Salvador Reyes played in the 1958, 1962 and 1966 tournaments.
In 1970, Mexico
was able to make a breakthrough. Hosts for the tournament, they kicked off with a scoreless draw against the Soviet Union, followed by wins over El Salvador (4-0) and Belgium (1-0). Against Italy in the quarter-finals, they took the lead before going down 4-1.
was disqualified from the 1990 qualifiers due to fielding an overage player in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying youth tournament for 1988 Summer Olympics in Guatemala, but have since qualified for four consecutive World Cups.
In the 1990s, Mexican football began experiencing more consistent international success. An important turning point was its participation in the 1993 Copa America, where they surprised many by finishing second in the tournament in only their first appearance, narrowly losing to Argentina 2-1 in the final. Bouyed by this success, Mexico
went on to win its group in the 1994 World Cup, emerging from the tournament's "Group of Death" composed of itself, Italy, Ireland, and Norway. Although Mexico
eventually bowed out in Round 2 to Bulgaria, this performance began a string of successful showings at football's premier event, as the team also moved on to Round 2 in the each of the Cups of 1998, 2002, 2006.
Since their second place finish in the 1993 Copa America, Mexico
has been a regular participant in the South American tournament and has fared very well. It earned third place in 1997 and 1999 and another second place in 2001. In fact, Mexico
has never failed to reach the quarter finals of the Copa America and twice has had the leading scorer in the tournament, Luis Garcia in 1995 (sharing the title with Arge. striker, Gabriel Batistuta) and Luis Hernández in 1997. The amazing growth and success of the national team during the 1990s reached its zenith when Mexico
hosted and won the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup. Mexico
won its first official FIFA tournament trophy by beating Brazil, no less, in an exciting high-scoring final with a final score of 4-3. Mexico
's star, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, shares the tournament's Golden Shoe award as top scorer with Brazilian player, Ronaldinho.
In the 2000s, the u.s have proved a credible challenger to Mexico
's dominance on the continental football scene, winning the 2002 Gold Cup and disqualifying Mexico
from Round 2 in 2002 FIFA World Cup. Despite the disappointing loss, Mexico
again hosted the Gold Cup in 2003. In addition, Mexico
exacted their revenge on the u.s. by eliminating them during their qualification run to the 2004 Summer Olympics. In the 2005 Gold Cup tournament, however, Mexico
suffered a disappointing early exit, as they were eliminated by guests Colombia in the quarterfinals on a goal with less than fifteen minutes to play.
The parallel emergence of the u.s. and Mexico
on the international stage has helped elevate the status of the CONCACAF region. More importantly, however, it has provided a natural rivalry that has benefited the development both national teams. In fact, Mexico
and the u.s. ran neck and neck during qualification for the 2006 World Cup. Mexico
beat the u.s. 2-1 in Mexico
City on March 27, 2005. The Americans then returned the favor by defeating Mexico
2-0 in columbus, OH on September 3, 2005 thus earning their place in Germany before their archrivals. Nevertheless, Mexico
secured their place in the World Cup four days later with a 5-0 defeat of Panama in Mexico
City. Ultimately, the two nations finished the qualification campaign with an identical 7-1-2 record — the Americans held a slight advantage in goal differential in the games between both teams.
The participation of the Mexican national team in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup confirmed Mexico
as a rising football power. Mexico
began the tournament by defeating defending World Cup Champions Brazil by a score of 1-0 with an impressive display of tactical intelligence and discipline. Mexico
garnered further accolades with impressive performances against traditional heavyweights arge. and Germany. Although Mexico
was leading arge. in extra time of their semifinal match, they ultimately lost in a highly contested penalty shootout, 6-5. In the third place match, Mexico
twice came from behind against Germany, eventually losing 4-3 in extra time.
The notable growth experienced by the Mexican national team since the early 1990s could arguably be attributed to the increased competitiveness of its domestic league, the Primera División de México
. Due in large part to lucrative television contracts, Mexican football clubs are amongst the richest outside of Europe. This has made Mexico
an attractive destination for many quality international players, in particular from South and Central America. In addition, Mexican clubs have done very well in international tournaments such as CONMEBOL's Copa Libertadores. In fact, in four of the last six editions of the tournament, a Mexican club has finished among the top four, including Cruz Azul's second place finish in 2001. The influx of high level foreign players, together with increased participation in international tournaments has helped compensate somewhat for the fact that traditionally, Mexican players have not sought opportunities in other countries. Still, a few Mexican players have enjoyed distinguished careers in European leagues, notably Hugo Sánchez with Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid in the 1980s and 1990s and more recently Rafael Márquez, who won a title with France's AS Monaco and is currently a key member of the two-time defending La Liga champion and current UEFA Champions League winner FC Barcelona and with Francisco Fonseca of SL Benfica being what many consider the two best players in Mexico
Further evidence of Mexico
's bright football future is the title obtained by the national team in the Under-17 World Cup held in Peru in the 2005 Under-17 World Cup. A crop of emerging Mexican stars, including Giovanni Dos Santos and Carlos Vela, defeated reigning champion Brazil by an emphatic score of 3-0, thus claiming the first FIFA Youth World Championship for the North American continent (and CONCACAF).
After Germany 2006, El Tri
has become one of the most regular teams in the world stage, having secured their passage to Round 2 in the last four World Cups. However, the goal of reaching the latter stages of the tournament, and thus equal or surpass their best showings when they reached the quarterfinals of the 1970 and 1986 tournaments on home soil.
2006 World Cup
played a series of friendlies in preparation for the World Cup in the u.s., seeking to maximise revenue by appealing to Mexicans living in the u.s.
was one of eight top seeded teams in the first round at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. This was the first time a non-hosting CONCACAF nation was seeded. They were put in group D with Iran, Angola and Portugal.
won their opening match 3-1 against Iran, with two goals from Omar Bravo and one by Antonio Naelson. In their second match, Mexico
played in a 0-0 draw match against Angola. Mexico joined Portugal as a qualifier in the Round of 16, despite losing to the Portuguese 2-1. During the match, Mexican striker, Omar Bravo missed a penalty shot.
In their final match of the tournament, Mexico
played against arge. The Mexicans scored in the 5th minute with a goal by captain Rafael Márquez. Four minutes later, an own-goal by an injured Jared Borgetti allowed arge. to equalize. The score remained 1-1 after 90 minutes, and in extra time, an exceptional volley by Maxi Rodríguez in the second period of extra time brought about a 2-1 win for arge.
Arge.-born coach Ricardo Lavolpe stepped down as coach after the tournament.
After 144 days since Lavolpe stepped down, Hugo Sánchez was named the new head coach against other candidates, such as Américo Gallego and Luis Fernando Tena.
International Competiton Records
FIFA World Cup
1930 - Round 1
1934 - Did Not Qualify
1938 - Withdrew
1950 - Round 1
1954 - Round 1
1958 - Round 1
1962 - Round 1
1966 - Round 1
1970 - Quarterfinals
1974 - Did Not Qualify
1978 - Round 1
1982 - Did Not Qualify
1986 - Quarterfinals
1990 - Disqualified
1994 - Round 2
1998 - Round 2
2002 - Round 2
2006 - Round 2
FIFA U-20 World Cup
1977 - Second Place
1997 - Round 2
1999 - Quarter Finals
2001 - Did Not Qualify
2003 - Round 1
2005 - Did Not Qualify
FIFA U-17 World Cup
1985 - Disqualified
1987 - Round 1
1989 - Round 1
1991 - Round 1
1993 - Round 1
1995 - Did Not Qualify
1997 - Round 1
1999 - Quarter Finals
2005 - Did Not Qualify
2003 - Quarter Finals
2005 - Champions
CONCACAF Gold Cup
1991 - Third place
1993 - Champions
1996 - Champions
1998 - Champions
2000 - Quarterfinals
2002 - Quarterfinals
2003 - Champions
2005 - Quarterfinals
CONMEBOL Copa América
1993 - Second place
1995 - Quarterfinals
1997 - Third place
1999 - Third place
2001 - Second place
2004 - Quarterfinals
FIFA Confederations Cup
1992 - Did Not Qualify
1995 - Third place
1997 - Round 1
1999 - Champions
2001 - Round 1
2003 - Did Not Qualify
2005 - Fourth place