The ref indicates that there are three minutes for stoppage time, you’re team is up a goal. You have the opportunity to put down a fiery squad that has been on a rampage throughout the Hexagonal. Plus, there’s the fact that if you seal this victory, Mexico will be kissing their 2014 World Cup dreams goodbye, and you’ll be planning your visit.
Next thing you know, a cross from the left side of the box sails in and a body flies over to connect with his head a strike into the far corner of the net. Leaving your goalkeeper split. The score is knotted up at 2-2, a tie isn’t so bad. Besides it couldn’t get any worse than this.
With just over three minutes, a substitute receives a pass at the top of the box, takes a step to the right with the ball, which opens up the defenders allowing him to slap a low shot that tucks in between the keeper and the post. I guess it can get worse than that.
In the span of that time, the Panama National Team gave the United States the ability to net two goals, the first by Graham Zusi and the second by the dual-national Aron Johannsson, and earn the victory. With that, Mexico now has a chance to get into Brazil by taking on a New Zealand team that usually is not that big of a threat. The Mexican National Team is probably thanking Juergen Klinsmann and his unusual but spot-on tactics for giving them another breath.
Will it really matter though?
So far during the Hexagonal, two things have stood out. The United States have a great manager in Klinsmann who has been able to utilize a variety of players in positions that best suit the team’s approach. While Mexico has a talented, young team but with poor leadership and disorganization led to them holding onto the edge of qualifying for Brazil.
Even if Mexico does limp into the World Cup they won’t be the strongest team—let alone a dangerous one—in the group stages. However, they do have the time to readjust and figure themselves out before then. Yet while Mexico will be doing that, the United States will be building off of their qualifying success, with Klinsmann composing the team that aims to be winning the group stages and head into the elimination round.
Being the mad scientist he is, Klinsmann will solidify his reign as the coach of the United States with his sometimes questionable, yet, well-timed substitutions and the preparations he puts into every match.
For Panama they’ll be sitting at home wondering why their defense could not hold up in the last three minutes of stoppage time. Mexico is jumping for joy as they have one last chance to make it into Brazil because of Panama’s mistake. With how their qualifying run went, Mexico can’t take New Zealand lightly, if anything they need to go into that match looking for blood. Last but not least, the United States, well they’re enjoying a wonderful outing during the qualifiers, winning big games and breaking their win streak record against national teams; however, with all that success, the United States must realize that what matters the most is going farther than they have the previous World Cup in order to prove themselves worthy of their play as of late.