Mexico’s men’s soccer team will battle two opponents when it steps onto the field in Edmonton, Alberta, for its next World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday night: a Canadian team fresh off a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica and freezing conditions.
The forecast is for a temperature of -7 C when the two teams take to the open-air Commonwealth Stadium pitch at 7:05 p.m. local time for their eighth regional qualifier. As if the temperature alone won’t be foreign enough for the Mexican players, they also face a 90% probability of snow falling onto their bootlaces.
El Tri, as Mexico’s national team is known, is currently tied for first place with the United States with 14 points among the eight CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) nations vying for qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, while Canada is one point behind with 13.
The first three teams will automatically qualify for next year’s World Cup, while the fourth-placed team will need to win an inter-confederation playoff to book its ticket to Doha. In addition to Mexico, the United States and Canada, Panama, Costa Rica, Jamaica, El Salvador and Honduras are contesting the final round of CONCACAF qualifying.
El Tri has recorded four wins, two ties and one loss during the final round, while Canada has three wins, four ties and no losses.
Mexico’s loss came against its arch regional rival, the United States, which scored a 2-0 victory over El Tri in Cincinnati, Ohio, last Friday. It was El Tri’s third consecutive loss against the U.S. selection.
Mexico made the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup in Russia but was defeated 2-0 by Brazil. It lost at the same stage of the previous six World Cups. El Tri made the quarter finals in 1970 and 1986 – both those World Cups were held in Mexico – but failed to progress on both occasions.
Along with the United States and Canada, Mexico will host the 2026 World Cup, but the lion’s share of the matches are to be played in the U.S.