Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
Quite how Mexico have got to the position of needing a play-off with New Zealand to reach the 2014 World Cup is quite remarkable, nevertheless El Tri face the All Whites for what should be a fascinating two matches to reach Brazil.
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The famous Azteca stadium hosts the first leg between Mexico and New Zealand with the hosts in disarray, stumbling into this play-off thanks to late goals from USA at Panama in the final few seconds of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera (pictured) has taken over for a month and has decided to play the first leg against New Zealand with only locally based players.
This means no Javier Hernandez, Giovani dos Santos or Carlos Vela (who probably wouldn’t have made himself available anyway).
Whether Mexico can make the altitude of the Azteca pay off will be one of the key deciding factors of the tie.
New Zealand’s chances took a hammer blow when West Ham defender Winston Reid was ruled out of both legs with an ankle injury.
Yet, the All Whites have built up a reputation as a stubborn side and will be hopeful of keeping the hosts down to a manageable scoreline for the return game in Wellington.
New Zealand have also been angered by the fact they will have to play in their black away kit in Mexico.