Raul Jimenez celebrates his goal in the Azteca in a Intercontinental playoff against New Zealand vying for a ticket to Brazil 2014, AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo
The All Whites were left all blue after a 5-1 trouncing in the Azteca.
The Kiwis were pummeled in Mexico City. On a day when the Azteca’s anticipated using the heat of noon as an advantage the city experienced one of its coldest days.
The Kiwis might have been pleasantly surprised at the brisk climate that received them.
On the contrary, the true inferno that awaited them lay deep in the depths of the Azteca.
The ferocious atmosphere asphyxiated the All Whites. It was hard to tell what was draining the Kiwis more, the altitude or the deafening jeers of the crowd. Truth is New Zealand never really showed any signs of life throughout the 90 minutes. Caught on many occasions gazing like spectators instead of clearing or defending loose balls in the box.
In the end El Tri’s victory was well deserved.
Mexico dominated at home but can it replicate its Azteca performance in Wellington?
Mexico may have already booked its ticket to Brazil. Still a long trip down under awaits them and it is uncertain how El Tri will cope with the long hours of travel. The last hurdle is now in sight. El Tri looked a dominant force against the Kiwis and should have few problems finishing off the All Whites.
But certainly, the game in Wellington will be completely different. Perhaps a bit more closed off, with a less drastic score line. Still El Tri looks the stronger side.
It was always going to be an uphill battle for the Kiwis. It always seemed to depend more on Mexico than on New Zealand. A Mexico that played well was always going to dominate. The fact that El Tri was able to put away so many chances was a tremendous sign of progression.
An aura of confidence was felt in the stadium.
Mexico was full of life. It looked bright, far from the squad that struggled to obtain goals in its colossal stadium.
Finally, fans were able to bestow praise on a squad that had experienced a year of ridicule.
El Tri now looks to Wellington to finish the job and book its ticket to Brazil 2014.