Mexico face an uphill task to win their CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinal tie after a setback in the first leg in Honduras.
Anthony Lozano scored the 30th-minute opener and Bryan Rochez added the second with 18 minutes remaining as the hosts won 2-0 to give themselves a huge chance of an upset.
El Tri dominated possession but produced only two shots on target as part of a result that could damage their chances of reaching the 2024 Copa America.
Head coach Jaime Lozano will hope his side’s first defeat in eight games in all competitions is only a blip on their way to the finals, which will be held in the US.
All is not lost for Mexico in their bid to reach the Copa America. The Sporting News explains the paths available to them, and how you can watch their second leg against Honduras as they attempt to secure their place in next summer’s tournament.
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The two-time finalists can still qualify for the tournament if they overturn the deficit when they host Honduras in the second leg of the CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinal at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on Wednesday.
Six Copa America places go to CONCACAF teams: four who reach the Nations League semifinals, and the two beaten quarterfinalists who win playoff matches.
Either Mexico or Honduras will drop into this playoff round depending on who wins the Nations League quarterfinal tie.
Mexico’s defeat in the first leg was perhaps less of a surprise than it might have seemed in light of their mixed historical record in Honduras.
At 12th in the FIFA rankings, Mexico are 66 places above Honduras, so they will be firm favourites to win the return game, with a win by at least two goals well within their capabilities.
Mexico will drop into the playoffs if they lose their CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinal with Honduras over two legs. If they do, they will face one of the other teams that loses their own quarterfinal matchup.
The other quarterfinals are between the United States and Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Panama, and Jamaica and Canada.
Should Mexico be knocked out of the Nations League, it is highly unlikely they would face opponents who would be close to them in the rankings, with 11th-ranked USA already 3-0 ahead from their first leg against Trinidad.
Unless they suffer another shock, then, Mexico remain likely to qualify for Copa America 2024. But they may need another game in which to do it if they cannot recover in the second leg against Honduras.
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The playoff matches will take place in March 2024 as one-legged, all-or-nothing games. The two winners will qualify for the Copa America.
Both of these games will be held at Toyota Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
The Copa America tournament, featuring 16 teams including holders Argentina, will take place between June 20 and July 14, 2024, with the draw held on December 7, 2023.
The CONCACAF Nations League clash takes place at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico and kicks off on Tuesday, November 21 at 8.30 p.m. local time.
Here’s how that time translates across North America:
In the USA, this match will be live streamed by Paramount+. Spanish coverage will be through TUDN, which is available to Fubo subscribers.
In Canada, subscribers can watch this match via Fubo.