Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Case Against Mexico

After the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, Mexico grabbed the number 2 spot after drawing with Trinidad & Tobago on the final match day.

However, Kartik Krishnaiyer makes the case that Mexico should not have qualified.
Mexico should have been eliminated in the semifinal round of qualifying. At Estadio Azteca in August 2008, against Honduras, CONCACAF’s best and brightest officials took a 1-0 Honduras lead and made it into a 2-1 Mexican victory based on two blatant dives and frivolous sending off for Honduras.

Cuauhtémoc Blanco, one of the least sporting players on the planet (and one that sadly plays on our own domestic league) appeared to have talked the officials into one of the calls after his team mate, Gio Dos Santos fell to the ground, and the other call was made, when Blanco himself hit the deck all too easily.

Mexico, later benefited from a clear dive by Andres Guardado versus Jamaica at home, and then survived to draw with Canada after two Canadian shots hit the post, and a clear Free kick shout for Paul Stalteri, was not given.

When it was all said and done, Mexico ended tied for second with Jamaica but won passage to the Hex on goal difference. CONCACAF can be questioned for this, because from an economic standpoint, Jack Warner and his allies probably preferred a Mexican team that is solid attendance draw in both qualifying and Gold Cup to a Jamaican side which represents a small, anglicized Caribbean Island. (Although it should be noted that Warner’s original election as head of CONCACAF was backed by Jamaica and not Mexico, but then again Sepp Blatter was originally backed as FIFA President by England.)

Mexico constantly getting calls was a combination of the cheating nature of Blanco and company, simple economic considerations, and the intimidation officials feel at Azteca. It also could have been due to the number of Latin officials that were assigned to Mexico’s games against non-Spanish speaking countries. CONCACAF without Mexico, is in terms of power like Oceania was before Australia left. The prospect of Mexico being eliminated at an early stage of qualifying must have shook Jack Warner tremendously.
I totally agree with Krishnaiyer on Blanco and Jack Warner. Blanco, for all his skill and excitement, is a cheat and has always been a cheat. He is an example of the worst of soccer, a man who refuses to beat people on skill and fees the need to cheat and bully and beg for indulgence from referees. There have been numerous MLS games where Blanco deserved not only a yellow card but two yellow cards for diving. That his coach Dennis Hamlett allows him to get away with it is likewise disturbing.

I heard on a podcast (I forget which one) Jack Warner described as the worst dictator who hasn't killed anyone. Warner is corrupt but no one has proved it. I despise Warner and all that he has done in CONCACAF. Football fans in the rest of the world consider CONCACAF a joke and Warner is a big part of that thinking.

Do I think economic considerations matter in football? Yes. Sepp Blatter and FIFA must have been sweating throught their Saville Row suits at the prospect that the two most exciting players on the planet might not make the World Cup as both Argentina (Leo Messi) and Portugal (Cristiano Ronaldo) were on the verge of not making the World Cup (and Portugal still might not make it). But Warner knows that Mexico not making the hex is a big hit to the wallet of CONCACAF.

Yet despite this information, I don't think a fix was in from Warner's office. However, I do think that sometimes referees feel the heat in some of the worst football caldrons in the world like Azteca stadium.

I think that CONCACAF will be a far better confederation if Warner was gone and Mexico will be a much better footballing nation with Blanco not playing.

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