Greg Lalas: Why I'm rooting for Mexico at the Confederations Cup
Tomorrow, the FIFA Confederations Cup kicks off down in Brazil. For many USMNT and CanMNT fans, this is unimportant other than the fact that we get the chance to watch some of the world's best national teams play, which is always a treat.
But there is actually a very relevant question for all of us to answer, one that came up yesterday on the American Soccer Morning show on KICKTV: Should US national team supporters root for Mexico during the Confederations Cup?
For many of us, it's one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't dilemmas that comes up within the complex matrix of international soccer governance, regulation, and allegiance.
Here are the arguments, as I see them:
Pro-Mexico: USMNT supporters should Root for Mexico because their performance affects the US (and Canada, too). FIFA and the global soccer community rate and rank confederations based on the performance of their sides in international tournaments, such as the Confederations Cup.
I think of these two arguments as the difference between the head and the heart. They bleed into each other in various ways, but it's still an either/or question that pits reason against emotion.
Personally, I go with reason. I am in the pro-Mexico camp.
I'm probably as thoroughly steeped in the US soccer tradition as anyone, but I'm rooting for Mexico at the Confed Cup nonetheless, just as I'm rooting for Mexico to right the ship in the Hexagonal and qualify for the World Cup.
My reasoning is simple: CONCACAF is viewed as a backwater of sorts by many in the international soccer community. If Mexico can pull off a few big results down in Brazil over the next two weeks, in the same manner that the US did in 2009 in South Africa, it only helps the argument that CONCACAF is an emerging force in the global game, something I truly believe in.
Now, I'm not saying that, if El Tri win the Confederations Cup, everyone will suddenly view CONCACAF with reverence and total respect. But it will help.
It will help when an American or Canadian player takes the field in Europe.
It will help when FIFA decides if CONCACAF deserves an extra "half berth" to the World Cup.
It will help Mexico's ranking, which will help the US's ranking when they beat Mexico in September, which will hopefully help the US's seeding at the World Cup.
And that, to me, is what matters most.
Will you root for Mexico at Confederations Cup? Let us know in the comments below