El Tri impressive in qualification so far 

September, 12, 2012
09/12/12
12:23
PM ET

Mexico's historic friendly loss to the United States in August was surely embarrassing, but credit the FMF for not overreacting. With bigger goals in mind, El Tri plowed on despite the humiliation, undeterred its structure had failed in any way. Mexico believed then that it likely deserved a better fate against the Americans so there was no need to change strategy, lineups, or roster call ups. The loss was a speed bump in Mexico's road to Brazil 2014, not a barrier.

With two important games against Costa Rica, Mexico had no time to wallow in the loss, but instead it was forced to immediately regroup. El Tri did so masterfully. It was quite remarkable how easily Mexico disposed of Costa Rica, the third-highest ranked CONCACAF team, according to ESPN's Soccer Power Index. Although the Ticos pressed heavily at times in both games, they never came too close to systematically penetrating Mexico's defense. The Ticos attacked, and drew shots on goal, but it was as a result of individual plays, not because of sustained tactical plays.

El Tri did not allow a goal in either game, both wins, and subsequently, and impressively, became the first CONCACAF team to advance to the final phase of World Cup qualification, the hexagonal, which begins play in February.

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