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What was Mexico’s best result at a World Cup?

The Mexico national football team represents Mexico internationally and is governed by the Mexican Football Federation. It is a member of CONCACAF.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - World Cup - CONCACAF Qualifiers - El Salvador v Mexico - Estadio Cuscatlan, San Salvador, El Salvador - October 12, 2021 Mexico players pose for a team group photo before the match REUTERS/Jose Cabezas/File Photo
Jose CabezasREUTERS

Football was introduced in Mexico at the beginning of the twentieth century, first by the miners from Cornwall, England, and later by the Spanish immigrants. They settled in Mexico, running away from the Civil War, bringing their immense football passion.

In the year 1927, football was institutionalized with the forming of the Mexican Football Federation (Spanish: Federación Mexicana de Fútbol).

Mexico played in the inaugural match of the first World Cup, In Uruguay, against France on 13 July 1930. Mexico’s most significant success in World Cup history was reaching the quarter-finals in the 1970 and 1986 World Cups, courtesy of being organized on Mexican soil.

World Cup 1970

At the first World Cup held outside of Europe and South America and the first in North America, the home team of Mexico reached the quarter-finals after finishing tied at the top of Group 1 with the Soviet Union, which meant the draw was necessary to rank them. The draw decided they would play against Italy, and it started very well for the Mexicans with a José Luis González goal, but his teammate Javier Guzmán equalized with an own goal before half-time. Italy then dominated the second half to progress to the semi-finals with a 4–1 win.

World Cup 1986

After Colombia, primarily due to economic reasons, withdrew from hosting the World Cup in 1986, Mexico became the first country to organize the football tournament twice. After beating Bulgaria (2-0) in the last match of the second round, Mexico reached the quarter-finals and faced West Germany.

On the hosts’ first game outside of the Azteca, Francisco Javier Cruz saw a goal disallowed as West Germany and Mexico drew 0–0 after extra time. The West Germans eliminated the hosts 4–1 on penalties. As a curiosity, the German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher jumped to the right in the three Mexican penalties (stopping two of them).

World Cup honors

Mexico is one of eight nations to have won two of the three most important football tournaments (the World Cup, Confederations Cup, and Summer Olympics), having won the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2012 Summer Olympics, in the latter knocking out Brazil 2-1 in the fight for the Olympic gold.

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Despite Mexico being under the jurisdiction of CONCACAF, the national team was invited to contest in the Copa América from 1993 to 2016, finishing runner-up twice – in 1993 and 2001 – and getting the third-place medal three times. They have won eleven CONCACAF championships (combined Gold Cup) titles, making them historically the most successful national team in the region.

In its World Cup history, Mexico has qualified for seventeen World Cups consecutively since 1994, making it one of six countries to do so. The Mexico national team and Brazil are the only nations to make it out of the group stage over the last seven World Cups.