Mexico City /
Ranked first in Group G and, after a great game that ended in a draw against Italy, the National Team of Mexico reached the Round of 16 of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup thinking about the quarterfinals; That possibility had never been so close, since 1986.
United States was the rival and with the experience of having beaten him over and over again in qualifying rounds and friendlies, How not to see that chance close! The Americans had qualified second from Group D, below South Korea and leaving out Portugal and Poland. His top references at the time were Claudio Reyna, Brian McBride, Cobi Jones and a young man named Landon Donovan.
Confidence was the worst mistake of the team led by Javier ‘Vasco’ Aguirre; barely at eight minutes, the United States struck the first blow, when McBride made it 1-0 at Jeonju Stadium.
But the early goal did not end with the Mexican security and confidence, believing that at any moment an awakening and a tie would come; yes, he was a known rival. The minutes passed and Mexico did not generate dangercould not reach the rival goal clearly and then the concern did arise.
With a Mexico looking for the matchwith a poor performance, was left uncovered in key areas, until the United States took advantage of a fast play on the left wing: Eddie Lewis dragged his marking, sent a cross to the height of the penalty spot, Donovan arrived and finished off the net, 2-0 and the elimination of the Tricolor.
The second goal of Bruce Arena’s team was lethal, in soccer and mentally; Mexico would no longer recover and -what would be worse- lost even his composure: Rafael Márquez, his great reference, was expelled at minute 88, after a hard tackle on Coby Jones, by giving a cunning header.