Mexican soccer fans experienced a gamut of emotions during the team’s third and final group game at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The upshot of a disappointing 0-3 defeat to Sweden Wednesday morning was that, fortunately, Mexico still managed to qualify for the round of 16, where they will face the might of Brazil.
For that, El Tri – the Mexican team’s nickname – have to thank the players of South Korea, who sensationally defeated Germany 2-0 to send the 2014 champions crashing from the tournament.
Qualification appeared in the bag when Mexico defeated South Korea 2-1 last Saturday morning to a record two wins out of two, following the unexpected victory over Germany in the opening game. In the day’s later game, Germany and Sweden were level at 1-1 as the game entered its final minute. But a last-gasp free kick gave Germany an undeserved victory and denied Mexico its moment of glory.
Mexico, however, only needed to tie with Sweden in Ekaterinburg on Wednesday to ensure qualification in first place in the group. But the Scandinavians had done their homework and presented Mexico with a much stronger challenge than Germany and South Korea. Without rotating any players from the first two games, Mexico found it difficult to cope with Sweden’s physical, direct approach, although they managed to keep the score 0-0 in the first half.