Mexico was drawn into a tough Group A in the 2020 Olympic qualifying tournament. The tournament will be hosted in Guadalajara and will have Mexico playing against the United States, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, who will be making their debut in the tournament. While Mexico looks to have the toughest group of the two, this means that Mexico will not be facing the United States in the semifinals, the game that will decide which teams goes to the Olympic games. That being said, both teams will first have to qualify to it and will face a tough task when they face Costa Rica, who is also in the group.
Mexico will be hosting the Olympic qualifying tournament for the first time since 2004. In that edition, Mexico got a surprising tie in the Group stages against Costa Rica, which meant they didn’t win the group and faced the United States in the semifinals. There Mexico had a great performance and crushed the United States by a 4-0 score, eliminating a team led by Landon Donovan (who had infamously urinated in a training session for the match in Estadio Jalisco, something he would never live down), Bobby Convey and DaMarcus Beasley from the Olympic games. The United States failed to qualify to both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. With both teams in the group, this means they will not face each other in the semifinals, which should add to the advantage of being in the same group. Both teams however probably didn’t like when Costa Rica was drawn into the group instead of El Salvador. Although Costa Rica is the third or even second biggest force in CONCACAF with the senior team, they last qualified to the Olympic games in 2004. In 2015 they were the biggest disappointment of the tournament when they started by getting crushed by Mexico 4-0 and then were eliminated in the next game by a 2-0 loss against Honduras. A full strength U23 team from both Mexico and the US (especially the hosts Mexico) should be favored against them.
Mexico will make their debut in the tournament against the Dominican Republic on Friday, March 20. Then on Monday, March 23 they will face what could be their key match against Costa Rica and then close on Thursday, March 26 against the United States in a game that might have both teams qualified for the semifinals and playing for the Group. Group B will have Honduras, Canada, El Salvador and Haiti in it. The top two teams will face the top two teams in Group A in the semifinals. The winners of the semifinal matches will qualify to the 2020 Olympic games and face each other in the final for the U23 title. There’s still no word on which stadium will host the games but it will probably be that Group A games will be played in Estadio Akron (where the draw was held) and Group B will be played in Estadio Jalisco.