Is El Tri worse than we thought? 

April, 2, 2013
04/02/13
12:22
PM ET

The Hexagonal stage of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying was supposed to be the coronation of Mexico as the undisputed No. 1 team in the region. El Tri was supposed to roll over team after team in the Estadio Azteca and win away from home, perhaps with the exception of the difficult trips to Honduras and the United States. The subtext was that Mexico would use qualifying as a springboard to prove that El Tri really is a growing world force at this summer's Confederations Cup and then cement the claim at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

But the script has gone awry in the first quarter of 2013, with El Tri drawing all four of its games (three qualifiers), scoring only three times and managing only two 0-0 ties in the Estadio Azteca -- one of the most notoriously difficult stadiums in world football to visit.

It begs the question: Is this Mexican national team simply not as good as we thought?

In terms of the raised expectations and where the team is currently at, the answer is yes, but a look at the big picture is needed.

Generational shift

Mexico is in the middle of a long-term process starting from the bottom up, of which players like Giovani Dos Santos and many others from the Olympic gold medal-winning squad are the first products.

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