Head coach Victor Manuel Vucetich (pictured) will lead Mexico against Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifier on October 15, 2013. (Photo: Mexsport)
MEXICO CITY – Following Mexico’s victory over Panama on Friday, head coach Víctor Manuel Vucetich appeared content with the result, but knew more was necessary if a place in Brazil next year was to be realized.
With 11 points, Mexico now has sole possession of fourth place in the CONCACAF Hexagonal and goes on the road to face already qualified Costa Rica on Tuesday.
The Tricolor has very little room for error in its last final-round match. It can still qualify directly to the World Cup by finishing in third place at the expense of Honduras. Conversely, a loss in San Jose – combined with a Panama victory over the United States -- will eliminate the CONCACAF powerhouse from contention altogether.
For that reason, Vucetich observed that the three points obtained at the Estadio Azteca were the minimum aim and that his team will give every effort in trying to win in Central America.
“This is the first step,” Vucetich commented after the Panama game. “This contest was vital, we have to now take it and cultivate that in our final match. Our objective is to qualify and now we go in search of that at Costa Rica.”
The former Monterrey manager and three-time CONCACAF Champions League winner viewed scoring and winning at home as building blocks.
“The match was tight, the team kept me calm, happy, and there were few chances in attack for Panama,” Vucetich continued. “The attitude of the team was fantastic and in addition to break that spell of not winning in the Azteca, of not scoring goals, that gives us the ease to work in peace and move forward.”
The 58-year-old did not hesitate to praise the stunning goal scored by Club America forward Raul Jimenez, who pulled off a bicycle kick in the 85th minute to break a 1-1 deadlock.
“It’s a spectacular goal, very pretty and above all, emotional, for the circumstance that we had,” concluded Vucetich.
In three meetings between them during this qualifying cycle, Mexico has won twice and the other encounter ended in a 0-0 draw. El Tri triumphed 2-0 in the first match in San Jose, on September 7, 2012, thanks to goals by Carlos Salcido and Jesus Zavala.