Oribe Peralta (pictured) has netted five goals to top Mexico’s World Cup Qualifying scoring list with Javier Hernandez. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Even though Mexico fell at Costa Rica on the final day of CONCACAF qualifying to miss out on one of the confederation’s three automatic berths in Brazil, it can still advance to the 2014 World Cup by overcoming New Zealand in a two-legged series.
Following the 2-1 defeat in San Jose, the Mexican players made a point to look ahead in a positive fashion.
“God gave us a second chance of which has to be taken advantage,’ said Santos forward Oribe Peralta, who – with Javier Hernandez -- is Mexico’s joint top scorer in qualifying with five goals. “We have to concentrate and we have to improve in a month to be at the World Cup.”
Despite El Tri losing three of its final four matches, Fernando Arce pointed out that Mexico still has its future in its own hands.
“Today we control our own destiny for what is coming and to be in the World Cup,” said the Club Tijuana midfielder. “We must work and keep our heads up,”
The playoff against the Oceania winner represents the last opportunity to qualify for the World Cup, but goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa believes the team has nothing to fear.
“We are not scared of the playoff,” claimed the Ajaccio goalkeeper. “We must face it. I think that we have to play better football and not in the way we have done today.”
The Intercontinental Playoff will open on November 13at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The second leg will be played a week later at WestPac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand.
In three all-time games between them, Mexico has won twice (2010, 2011) and New Zealand once (1980).