- Football - International - FIFA - World Cup 2014 Qualifiers
It’s been a while since I last tipped.
To those who have been emailing me, contact me on twitter (@pickpilpil) if you’re keen on my views on selected matches.
Anyway, with some time on hand, I thought I write a tip on what I see as great value in the World Cup Intercontinental playoff (1st leg) between Mexico vs New Zealand.
Mexico made it to this stage by the skin of their teeth, qualifying despite losing to Costa Rica 1-2. They have USA to thank after their northern rivals beat Panama 3-2, scoring two goals in injury time. Mexico finished 4th and grabbed the playoff spot with a mediocre 2/5/4 (7-9).
Compare this with:
2010: 6/1/3 (18-12)
2006: 7/1/2 (22-9)
2002: 5/2/3 (16-9)
1998: 4/6/0 (23-7)
The standout stat is this current Mexico team can’t score. They registered just 7 goals during the qualification and have been shut out 5 times, including 3x at the intimidating Estadio Azteca. Their cause (to improve their tally) is not helped by the suspension to Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez, who scored all their 3 goals in the Confederations Cup and is their joint topscorer in the entire WCQ. Ex-Barcelona and currently Villarreal’s topscorer Giovanni Dos Santos has been overlooked and Sociedad’s Carlos Vela still refuses to return following his 6-month ban in 2010.
This can only be good news for New Zealand who famously went undefeated in a group comprising Italy, Paraguay & Slovakia (no less) in WC2010. The All Whites can be an ultra defensive side if they need to – strong, physical and disciplined. Combined with their long ball style, aerial threat not to mention superiority in height, they are exactly what the Mexicans struggle against.
Fellow CONCACAF nation Panama comes closest to New Zealand’s blend of football, and we saw how Mexico struggled for ideas at Canaleros (0-0) and in the return match at Azteca, it needed an 85th wonder goal from Raul Jimenez to divide the teams (2-1).
I think Mexico will continue to struggle for ideas upfront, just as the Federation did with the national managers – Miguel Herrera is the 4th manager since August! He hasn’t injected any life since his appointment and it is apparent that he solely relying the high altitude of Azteca after picking 10 players from Club America.
Pressing football to wear down the New Zealanders, that’s it?
All in all, I think the +2 handicap is simply too big a handicap not to be on the visitors for this match. Admittedly, the Kiwis could get overly cautious with conceding yellow cards (their Oceania Federation made a blunder with wiping out cards) but I am confident they will go all out here. With defence being their biggest strength, the tie could be 'won' in this away leg.
My price: New Zealand +1. 25 $1. 88
Prediction: 1-1, 1-0
|13/11/2013 10:00, read 1762 times