The time for the initial leg in the home-and-home contest is drawing closer (don't take my word for it, check the nifty countdown timer courtesy of timeandate.com).
New Zealand will be facing a Mexico side that is essentially a Liga MX All-Star team (featuring only Mexican citizens, of course). Coach Miguel Hererra stresses continuity over quality and thus is keeping Javier Hernandez and Giovani Dos Santos away. Meanwhile he's sporting the same backline as his Club America squad except that former New York Red Bulls player Rafael Marquez has been included in the picture. It's a bold move to be sure.
If it backfires, Herrera's decision could be a costly for not only the country's aspirations, but literally for some $600 million dollars in corporate sponsorships.
My question: if Mexico does advance, will Herrera stick with the the Liga MX players who defeated New Zealand or does he then return to his Mexican stars abroad?
As for New Zealand, Costa Rican international Kenny Cunningham who plays for the Wellington Phoenix in the A-League likes New Zealand's chances. Cunningham played sparingly during the Hex, but did see the field for extended periods during the Gold Cup.
A New Zealand win over Mexico wouldn't be unprecedented writes Michael Brown. A 1980 4-0 win over El Tri, "is widely acknowledged as the start of New Zealand's 1982 World Cup campaign." 1982 was the first time New Zealand qualified for the World Cup, and, until 2010, the only time.
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