World Cup: For Mexico, the recurring national nightmare looms on the horizon | Armchair Analyst

It was when Rafa Márquez scored that header that I felt my soul leave my body. It went about as you'd expect.

Mexico are through to the group stage after a pretty commanding 3-1 win over Croatia on Monday. For my own well-being, I'm going to think of this less as a Mexican triumph and more as another bullet point in the "Don't mess with CONCACAF narrative" that's been so fun for the past week-and-a-half.

Mexico have played only against sides that go four at the back so far; the Netherlands, on Monday morning, beat a Chilean side playing a 3-4-1-2 that looks very similar to Mexico's lineup, even if they have a very different defensive scheme. Add in the fact that El Tri will be without d-mid José Juan Vázquez on yellow-card accumulation, and suddenly this dream run looks like the recurring "Death in the Round of 16" nightmare that's plagued an entire nation for the past 20 years.

But the breakthrough has to come sometime. I honestly feel like the time for Mexico is now – particularly because they have their very own saint watching over them from on high:

Never forget who got you there.

Series: 

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