Mexico is heading back to the World Cup for an eighth straight time. They join the United States of America (USA) and Canada as the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football ( CONCACAF) three automatic representatives.
The USA is heading back to the World Cup after they missed out in 2018, despite a 2-0 defeat in Costa Rica Wednesday night.
It would have taken a loss by six goals or more in San José on to finish out of the top three in CONCACAF this time—and will indeed be taking part in the fall competition in Qatar.
Canada had a few days ended a 36-year drought on the men’s side by thrashing Jamaica at home on Sunday to make history of its own and punch its ticket with a game to spare. Costa Rica, meanwhile, finishes fourth after coming on strong in the second half of the Octagonal and will go to a June intercontinental playoff against Oceania’s qualifying champion, New Zealand, in a match that will be held in Qatar.
With a 2-0 win vs. El Salvador Wednesday night, Mexico has punched its ticket for the 2022 competition in Qatar, doing enough to continue its streak of qualification despite a process that was uneven at best over the last six months.
In the eight-team CONCACAF table, Mexico finished second, behind Canada and ahead of the United States. El Tri’s only losses came to those two teams away from home and those came in consecutive matches in November last year as part of a run of four straight road qualifiers.
Nevertheless, it hasn’t been a dominant qualifying run for Mexico. Under head coach Tata Martino, Mexico won the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup; however, El Tri struggled in the summer of 2021 against the rival USA., losing in the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup finals. It also dropped points on three occasions in qualifying at Estadio Azteca—including a 0-0 draw with the USA—while confronting fan sanctions for continued homophobic chants. Martino was absent for Sunday’s narrow win over Honduras, advised not to travel by flight following a retinal detachment procedure on his right eye. His assistant, Jorge Theiler, took his place, but Martino returned to the bench for Mexico’s home finale and clinching effort.
Mexico has not missed a World Cup since 1990 when the team was banned by FIFA after fielding overaged players for a 1988 CONCACAF
U-20 tournament. The last one it failed to qualify for on merit came in 1982. In 2026, when the World Cup expands to 48 teams, Mexico will be expected to receive an automatic bid as one of the hosts alongside the United States and Canada