Chicharito: We want to qualify undefeated
Chicharito and Mexico want to complete an undefeated FIFA World Cup qualification campaign for the first time in 40 years tonight.
El Tri travel to the Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula to take on Honduras in their final Russia 2018 CONCACAF Round 5 tie on Tuesday evening.
Mexico have won six and drawn three of the nine Round 5 ties they have played so far to confirm top spot in the North, Central America and Caribbean region.
And having also won 2-0 at the same venue in Round 4, the West Ham United striker and his compatriots will be confident of clinching a first unbeaten qualifying programme since winning all five matches at the 1977 CONCACAF Championship to secure their place at Argentina 1978.
“Honduras is a special place, but we want to go undefeated,” said the No17, who scored his 49th international goal in a 3-1 victory over Trinidad & Tobago on Friday evening.
“Whether we win or we lose, we have a lot to learn. We have to take it each game at a time, as four years ago we were not the worst and now we are the best. We go very calmly, no matter what the outcome. We think only of Honduras.”
Honduras is a special place, but we want to go undefeated
The Caribbean island nation took a surprise lead through Shahdon Winchester in San Luis Potosi, before goals in the final 12 minutes from Hirving Lozano, Chicharito – on his 99th cap – and Hector Herrera turned things around.
"They could not hold the rhythm for the whole game. In the first half, we also threatened quite a few times, but we did not finish our chances.
“The coach asked us to keep going, not to lower the intensity and not take our foot off the accelerator.”
Following Friday’s victory, Chicharito paid tribute to the Mexican people, who were honoured with a minute's silence before kick-off (below), praising their resilience in the wake of the devastating 19 September earthquake in his homeland.
“We dedicate this victory in recognition of all the people who supported the country in the difficult situation that was experienced in recent days.”
For the record, despite five goals from the 29-year-old, Mexico lost three fourth-round ties in 2014 qualification before thumping Winston Reid’s New Zealand 9-3 on aggregate in the Intercontinental Play-Off.
In 2010, El Tri initially made an even bigger drama of qualifying, losing two of their third-round ties to sneak past Jamaica on goal difference. They lost a further three fourth-round matches but won six to finish as runners-up to the United States.
In 2006, Mexico won 13 of their 16 ties, losing two, while in 2002 they lost four out of 16 and for both 1998 and 1994, two out of 16.
The Central Americans were disqualified from qualification for the 1990 tournament, hosted the finals in 1986 and lost two qualifiers for Spain 1982.