On Wednesday, Mexico qualified to the Round of 16 for the seventh straight World Cup. This achievement will now have Mexico facing Brazil on Monday. Brazil and Mexico are now the only teams to have qualified for seven straight Rounds of 16 after Germany finished in last place of Mexico’s group. Germany had been the team with the most consecutive knockout round appearances, as they had only not made it out of the first stage in 1938. Brazil has made it out of every single group stage since 1966, which now is the longest streak. Meanwhile, Mexico’s streak is now the second longest and it could’ve been even longer had Mexico not been disqualified from the 1990 World Cup because of cheating with their youth teams. This means that Mexico has made it out of the group stage in the last eight World Cups they have participated in since they made it all the way to the Quarterfinals in 1986.
A lot of Mexican fans are filled with disappointment with the fact that Mexico hasn’t made it into the Quarterfinals and played that fifth game since the streak started in 1994. It’s incredibly frustrating to see the team fail at the same stage over and over again. That said, this has sometimes left the very demanding Mexican fans to consider it a failure and not give the credit to constantly making it out of the Group Stage, especially for a team that isn’t a world power in the sport.
Obviously, it is no small feat. The consistency shown for the past 25 years proves that Mexico is a top 16 team under any guideline. Mexico going through World Cup after World Cup is an incredible achievement. It’s also an important point to see Mexico’s footprint in CONCACAF. Because of the fact that no African team made it into the second round, this means that CONCACAF now has the biggest streak of second round appearances from Confederations after UEFA and CONMEBOL (which looks to have no end in sight). While it’s true that they were tied at eight before and this wasn’t only because of Mexico ( Costa Rica was the CONCACAF team to make it to the Round of 16 in 1990), Mexico is the CONCACAF team to make it to the knockout stages the most. In World Cups in Europe, Mexico has been the only CONCACAF team to make it out of the Group stages for three consecutive World Cups (1998, 2006 and now 2018).
All things considered, Mexico is not a top eight team If they make it through against Brazil (which is a huge IF), it would be a total upset. It is important that Mexico takes the opportunity to get the monkey of their back, but it must still be mentioned that Mexico has made a huge achievement. The top elite teams haven’t been able to do the same- Argentina, Spain, Italy and now Germany have all failed to accomplish this, and while it doesn’t mean at all that they aren’t better than Mexico, it does show that Mexico is in important company and getting to the second stage makes a World Cup appearance a success for a team like Mexico.