Mexico gets knocked out ... again. By German B-team in Confederations Cup this time

Timo Werner (C) and his German teammates dominated Mexico, which raises questions about both El Tri and the rest of the world’s capability of hanging with the reigning world champions. Getty)

Mexico has never won a knockout game in either of the two global soccer tournaments put on by FIFA, the World Cup and the Confederations Cup, when that tournament was not staged on its home soil.

El Tri won its only World Cup round of 16 game in 1986, when it hosted. And it managed to win the 1999 Confederations Cup when it came to Mexico, claiming a semifinal victory over the United States in extra-time, and then outlasting Brazil 4-3 in a slugfest final. When Mexico put on the World Cup in 1970, it stumbled in the quarterfinal, which was the first knockout game then.

On Thursday, it kept the ignominious streak going with a 4-1 defeat to Germany in the semifinal of the Confederations Cup in Russia. Leon Goretzka’s goals in the sixth and eighth minutes doomed Juan Carlos Osorio’s team to a ninth straight lost knockout round game in an intercontinental tournament on foreign soil. Timo Werner and Amin Younes made things worse in the second half, rendering Marco Fabian’s blast from distance fairly meaningless.

So Germany advanced to Sunday’s final against Chile, which is aiming to lift a trophy in a third consecutive summer, after claiming the 2015 Copa America and the 2016 Copa America Centenario. Die Mannschaft may think twice about the implications of winning, however. Because the defending world champions must know that no team has won the World Cup after taking the Confederations Cup home the summer prior.

As for Mexico, its disappointment will be exacerbated by the knowledge that this was Germany’s B-team. Manager Jogi Loew left his first string at home, opting to use the tournament to test out younger and fringe players who might fill out his World Cup roster next summer.


This will once again call into question Osorio’s position in charge of Mexico. When El Tri was hammered 7-0 by Chile in the quarterfinals of the Copa America last summer, he only just clung on. He has a strong record in qualifying and this was just the Colombian’s second competitive loss. Yet his is one of the most closely scrutinized jobs in international soccer.

This might be the blow that does the American-educated Osorio in. If confidence has eroded that he might get his team to that elusive “fifth game” at the World Cup next summer, his days are surely numbered.

It didn’t take long for Germany to decide Thursday’s game — and possibly Osorio’s fate. In the sixth minute, Goretzka made a trailing run, found space at the edge of the box and cleanly one-timed the ball behind Guillermo Ochoa:


Within another two minutes, Goretzka was dispatched through the line and beat Ochoa one-on-one:


Mexico finally woke up after Werner almost made it three but was denied point-blank by Ochoa. And for much of the way, El Tri was actually the more dangerous side. Giovani Dos Santos and Javier Hernandez had credible chances, but neither could breach Marc-Andre Ter Stegen’s goal.

Mexico dominated possession to the tune of 70 percent at some points and outshot the Germans 24-12 in an end-to-end affair, but before it would finally get on the scoreboard, Werner had scored his third goal of the tournament. Before the hour, Jonas Hector was played through, and he found the wide-open Werner beside him for the simple tap-in:


Raul Jimenez headed off the bar for Mexico and Rafa Marquez failed to score on two promising headers of his own. So by the time Fabian scored with a dazzling long shot from a free kick in the 90th minute, it was far too little and much too late.

Besides, Younes was gifted a simple fourth goal in injury time on another pitiless German exploitation of Mexico’s undermanned three-person backline.

Even Germany’s reserves are capable of winning a major(ish) international tournament. And in Mexico, the inquisition over its failures in the key games begins anew.

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Leander Schaerlaeckens is a Yahoo Sports soccer columnist. Follow him on Twitter @LeanderAlphabet.

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