This might be the time that Mexico finally breaks its streak of being unable to advance beyond the Round of 16 in the World Cup, so says former Mexican international Pavel Pardo.
Mexico has been among the most consistent nations in the world, advancing to the second round of the tournament every edition of the World Cup since 1994. But the issue has always been that Mexico doesn’t advance beyond that, forever being stuck in neutral it seems as they haven’t gotten beyond the second round the past six World Cups.
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The country last made the quarterfinals in 1986 in a tournament they hosted. The United States made the quarterfinals in 2002, ironically beating Mexico in the second round.
Pardo, capped 146 times by Mexico, sees hope in this group. This is arguably Mexico’s best team on paper in the past 25 years, with a number of players now in top flites across Europe’s best leagues.
“It’s not easy, a tough group. The first game is playing against Germany, of course, it is a tough game – why? Because it is the first game,” Pardo told Metro. “You know, anything [is] possible – you have to play the games and I think right now Mexico has good experience because some players have [been] in lots of World Cups. A lot of players are now playing in Europe – there is good competition.”
Pardo spoke to Metro at an event promoting Panini, the infamous collectibles brand that produces stickers and trading cards for the World Cup. The former Mexican international admits that he now collects Panini stickers along with his children as a way to get excited for the World Cup.
It might be tough for Mexico, though, to stick in this World Cup beyond the first round. They have one of the toughest groups in the entire tournament.
There is the aforementioned Germany, who won the World Cup in Brazil four years ago. They also face difficult sides in Sweden and South Korea.
Germany – a favorite to win the whole tournament - and Sweden would be considered favorites to advance but Mexico continues to get results. This past weekend they beat Scotland 1-0 in a World Cup friendly.
Despite the tough group, Pardo sees a squad that can advance.
“I think so, I think so mainly because we talk about…Mexico is normally getting to the next round, the round of 16 and then we’ve stopped there,” Pardo said.
“Every World Cup, we talk about ‘OK, we’re getting in the next round, like the round of eight, the quarterfinals.’ For sure, because I think right now, we’re talking about the players in Europe. They get that experience, that competition. Now they have to do everything on the pitch because of the opportunities. I think there is a great opportunity for Mexico. It’s my opinion. Everybody says OK, it’s a tough group because you have Germany and Sweden and South Korea, but anything is possible.”