Despite having recently said that Mexico did not deserve to host a World Cup, Argentina legend Diego Maradona on Monday said that he is supporting El Tri after a review of all of the Latin American teams participating in Russia.
“I am a supporter [of Mexico] already because they made this first round great. Mexico have shown that they could be able to beat Sweden, that they have the condition,” Maradona told Venezuelan TV channel Telesur during his program “De la Mano del 10.”
Maradona also said that by beating South Korea, Mexico showed that their initial win over Germany was no fluke. Against South Korea, Maradona said that Mexico went in aggressively and within the first or second touches they were already in position to score.
Mexico face a tough task on Wednesday. El Tri still may need points to secure a place in the round of 16 for a seventh consecutive World Cup. If Sweden beat Mexico on Wednesday and Germany beat South Korea, three teams would be tied atop Group F with six points, sending it to tiebreakers that start with the best goal differential.
If Mexico and South Korea both win, Mexico would win the group and every other team would be tied with three points.
Sweden haven’t made it to the second round since 2006. And like Mexico, six points wouldn’t necessarily be enough to advance. The Swedes might end up needing to win by two goals, depending on what Germany do.
Mexico upset Germany 1-0 in their opener and then dispatched South Korea 2-1. It looked like those results would be enough for Mexico to advance, but then Toni Kroos scored deep into extra time to give Germany a 2-1 win over Sweden, setting up the various scenarios that will come into play during Wednesday’s simultaneous matches.
A North American bid that included Mexico, along with the United States and Canada, was awarded by FIFA the right to host the 2026 World Cup last month.
Following the vote, Maradona told Telesur that he did not like the decision to have the three countries host the 2026 World Cup, due to their lack of success and passion for the sport.
“Mexico don’t deserve it. The Mexicans come up against Brazil or Germany… and ‘boom,’ they’re out,” Maradona said. “There’s no passion. The Canadians may be good skiers, and the Americans wanted to have four periods of 25 [minutes] for the advertising.”