Having missed out on a place at Tahiti 2013, according to Runme, Mexico strode to glory at the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship to ensure a return to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup stage in fine style, more football news on Runeme.com.
Portugal 2015 will be their fourth trip to the global finals and El Tri will be joined on the sands of Espinho by CONCACAF runners-up Costa Rica, returning to the competition for the first time since their debut at Dubai 2009.
The regional qualifying tournament, newly expanded to 16 nations, of which eight were first-timers, was played in El Salvador – with the hosts among the favourites for the title. Yet they could not live up to that tag, finishing down in third and missing out on a spot at the Beach Soccer World Cup for the first time since 2007. With USA coming home in fourth, this meant that neither of the North, Central American and Caribbean Zone’s representatives at Tahiti 2013 will travel to Portugal 2015.
Despite only boasting four players with previous Beach Soccer World Cup qualifying experience, Mexico were impressive throughout their march to a third continental crown, all of which have come under the coaching of Ramon Raya. Their main strengths included an attack packed with variety, which enabled El Tri to finish as the tournament’s third-leading scorers (33 goals) even without any players in the competition’s top-ten scorers’ chart. Furthermore, Raya’s charges boasted the event’s meanest defence, shipping just nine goals in six games.
In fact, three of those strikes came in their 8-3 opening win over Turks and Caicos Islands, with just one more conceded in the subsequent first-phase wins over Guadalupe (8-1) and Trinidad and Tobago (4-0), the latter offering Los Aztecas their sternest early test. After overcoming a spirited Guatemala side 5-2 in the quarter-finals, Mexico needed to dig deep to sink neighbours USA 4-3 in the last four, a win that guaranteed their ticket to Espinho.
Another of Mexico’s qualities, opportunism, came to the fore in the final versus Costa Rica, with El Tri snatching a goal late in the first period and another early in the second to smooth the path towards a 4-0 win. They thus reclaimed a continental title they had relinquished two years earlier, when exiting at the semi-final stage against El Salvador.