Mexico’s national soccer team was defeated 2-1 Tuesday by Canada at a World Cup qualifying match in Edmonton, Alberta, playing under wintry conditions with the temperature at -9 C.
It was the second loss in a week for El Tri, as the men’s team is known, after the United States’ team won 2-0 in Cincinnati, Ohio, November 12.
Mexico was tied for first place with the U.S. before the game in Ohio but is now in third, with Canada at the top and the United States second in CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) standings.
Only the top three of the eight CONCACAF nations will automatically qualify for the 2022 World Cup. Tuesday’s defeat leaves El Tri in a treacherous position, only ahead of Panama.
The fourth-placed team will still have the chance to qualify through an inter-confederation playoff match.
Conditions on the pitch were poor on Tuesday, despite the forecast snow clearing before kick-off, ESPN reported.
Canada’s Cyle Larin scored both goals against Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa who wasn’t helped much by El Tri’s blunted attack, which failed to register a single shot on goal in the first half, the newspaper Reforma reported.
A late goal from Hector Herrera put Mexico on the board, but their last-gasp efforts to secure an equalizer were thwarted by Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan.
The teams played before a crowd of 44,212 although organizers said 50,000 tickets were sold. Heavy snow on Monday and Tuesday were blamed for the no-shows.
Memories of a freezing Edmonton could yet act as motivation for El Tri: if they qualify for the World Cup, they can expect scorching desert-like heat in Qatar.
El Tri next plays a qualifier against Jamaica, which tied with the United States in its last match, before playing home games against Costa Rica and Panama in empty stadiums as a punishment for homophobic chanting by fans.