Tomorrow is the Confederations Cup draw and the majority of people in Mexico are looking forward to the possibility of a rematch with Chile. Of course, this is expected, especially after the 7-0 defeat in the Copa America. This defeat has been a huge hit to coach Juan Carlos Osorio, to the point that even if it's his only defeat with Mexico there are still cries for him to get fired because of it.
It also has severely hurt this Mexico national team. There is a huge scar as a result, and it makes sure to creep up when they struggle against teams like Honduras and Panama.
And yet many people have failed to notice that this cup might bring the opportunity to have a rematch against an old rival that has also inflicted crushing defeats to Mexico and who they haven't faced in decades. So while everybody asks for a rematch against Chile, I ask for a rematch against Australia.
As the main team from OFC, Australia historically failed to make the World Cup often but now have become one of the main teams in the AFC since joining after the 2006 World Cup. They will go to the 2017 Confederations Cup for the first time as Asian champions, but they had various appearances as Oceania’s representative and Mexico was a victim twice of their wrath.
In 1997, Mexico had a tough year for their "standards". They had easily qualified to the World Cup but the performances weren't there. They got a third-place finish in Copa America but then failed to beat the US and Costa Rica at home and were showing lackluster results. Coaches had been against their style of play under Bora Milutinovic. This all led to the firing of Bora and the hiring of Manuel Lapuente, who made his debut in the Confederations Cup in December in Saudi Arabia.
In their first game they faced Australia, and against all odds and in Lapuente’s first game, they lost 3-1. This defeat was a shock and it destroyed the whole tournament for Mexico. The good news for Mexico was that in the next game they had one of their best ever performances in beating Saudi Arabia 5-0 in Saudi Arabia and then had a "good" result in losing 3-2 to first-string Brazilian side. At that time, Mexico didn't have their streak of good results against Brazil, and although they did have a great game against them in Copa America (also losing 3-2), it was the year of their awful friendly defeat in Miami, a 4-0 loss that could have been an even bigger massacre than against Chile. Still, that defeat to Australia meant that the Brazil defeat eliminated them out of the tournament. Australia was able to go all the way to the final, where they lost 6-0 to Brazil.
A couple of years later, we had the 2001 Confederations cup right in the middle of the Enrique Meza era. The Meza era might be the worst era of the Mexican national team, at least in recent times and that Confederations cup was going to be the proof of it. Mexico was going to the tournament in South Korea after the first Columbus defeat against the US and a horrific friendly defeat to England (4-0). The tournament’s first game was against Australia and just like last time, Mexico lost 2-0. This defeat doomed Mexico as they were losing the first game against the weaker opposition and still had to face the host South Korea and World Cup winners France.
The Koreans, who were coming on the back of shocking 5-0 defeat to France, had a close game against Mexico but won 2-1. El Tri ten lost to France 4-0. It was one of the worst performances that Mexico has had and the worst in the Confederations Cup.
After that, Mexico went home and lost for the first time ever in a World Cup qualifier at the Estadio Azteca against Costa Rica, and then went to Honduras and lost 3-1, ending the disastrous Meza era.
Mexico hasn't faced Australia's senior team since that game in 2001. Tomorrow is the Confederations Cup draw and Mexico will see if another Australia match is in the horizon. As Mexico is in the same pot as Australia, they actually have less of a chance to face Australia than Chile, who is in the opposite pot. So while the chances to face Australia are slim, that is the rematch I'm more looking forward to.