After eight years, the Mexican National Team is set to compete in the Copa America once again.
Jaime Lozano’s squad secured their ticket to the prestigious CONMEBOL tournament by eliminating Honduras in the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Nations League 2023-2024 in a dramatic penalty shootout on Tuesday night.
In a match held at the legendary Azteca Stadium, the Mexican team earned their goals through a free-kick by Luis Chvez at the 43rd minute of the first half and a powerful strike by Edson lvarez within the crowded rival area at the 103rd minute of the second half.
Despite the 2-0 deficit, the players understood the necessity to push for goals in front of over 50,000 spectators at the Coloso de Santa rsula in Mexico City.
Mexico’s last appearance in the tumultuous CONMEBOL tournament was for the Copa America Centenario in the United States in 2016, under the leadership of Colombian coach Juan Carlos Osorio.
Mexico’s win marred by referee controversy
Alongside the triumph of the Tricolor securing a place in Copa America 2024, attention has been drawn to the controversy surrounding the refereeing decisions.
The late equalizer by Mexico occurred after the allocated 9 minutes of extra time in the second half.
The penalty shootout added to the chaos, with Csar ‘Chino’ Huerta’s kicks being repeated three times due to goalkeeper Edrick Menjvar’s movements off the goal line.
Menjvar received a caution and was subsequently expelled for accumulating a yellow card during the match.
Despite the rollercoaster of emotions for Mexican fans, from the joy of goals to the disappointment of the extra time and penalties, the Mexican National Team has secured its place to compete against South American teams in the Copa America next year.
The focus now shifts to their ultimate goal: preparing for the FIFA World Cup in Mexico / Canada / United States in 2026.