February 5, 2023


16th World Cup appearance (14-14-25 all-time record)
Best Finish: Reached the quarterfinals in both 1970 and 1986
Draw: Group F

As good and popular as “El Tri” is they’ve never won a World Cup title. With every World Cup since 1994, Mexico has been unable to get past the Round of 16. They have either failed against European defenses (Bulgaria in 1994, Germany in 1998, Netherlands in 2014), couldn’t keep up with other Latin American powers (Argentina in both 2006 and 2010), or just flat out lost to an arch-rival (United States in 2002). They’ve lost those games by a combined score of 12-5.

The inability to score at that level is problematic to say the least. But before Mexico can even think about another Round of 16 slot, Javier Hernandez and the Dos Santos brothers (Giovani and Jonathan) first need to work their way past the defending champion Germans, a hungry Swedish team that’s playing in it’s first World Cup since 2006, and a South Korean unit eager to prove that they are one of the elite teams in the world. A tall task indeed lies ahead of them.

Costa Rica
4th World Cup appearance (5-4-6 all-time record)
Best Finish: Quarterfinals in 2014
2018 Draw: Group E

Like Colombia, “Los Ticos” are eager to prove that their 2014 performance was no fluke. But they have a tough draw this year as they are paired up in the same group as Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia. Luckily, Costa Rica has one of the better goalkeepers in the sport in Keylor Navas. They’ll need him as they’ll be facing plenty of offense in the opening round.


5th World Cup appearance (7-2-9 all-time record)
Best Finish: Quarterfinals in 2014
2018 Draw: Group H

Midfielder James Rodriguez can’t wait to take the pitch in Russia. He was the face of the Colombian team that reached the final eight four years ago in Brazil, it was the nation’s first World Cup appearance since 1998. Now Rodriguez and “Los Cafeteros” are looking for more as they have a little more experience under their belts. They have one of the more interesting draws in Group H where they’re joined by an up and coming Japan team (who’s qualified for their sixth consecutive World Cup), a surprising Poland squad (last played in the 2006 World Cup), and somewhat of a newcomer in Senegal (only their second World Cup appearance).

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About The Author

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Gabe has worked in media for the last 20 years. In addition to 'LLERO; Gabe has also written for NBC Latino, Fox News Latino, Extra Newspaper, ESPN's The Undefeated, The Sporting News and Athlon Sports among others. He can also be heard on WGN Radio. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.

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