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Mexico moves to the top of CONCACAF Hex for first time in 12 years

Goal.com logo Goal.com 25-03-2017

MEXICO CITY — For the first time in a dozen years, Mexico is back on top of CONCACAF.

El Tri has won Gold Cups and is the CONCACAF Cup champion after defeating the United States in the 2015 showdown. But not since Oct. 11, 2005 has Mexico led the Hex, the final round of CONCACAF qualification.

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Mexico went into the weekend as the second-placed team but beat No. 1 Costa Rica 2-0 on Friday to move into the top spot. Combined with Panama's defeat in Trinidad and Tobago, the three points put Mexico alone at the top of the table.

On the last day of qualification in 2005, the United States jumped Mexico for the top spot. Both of the campaigns to qualify for the 2010 and the 2014 World Cups started poorly, with Mexico falling to the United States in Columbus, Ohio to open qualification and never getting above second during the quest for South Africa.

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In 2014, things were far worse. Mexico's opening matchday draw with Jamaica left it in the middle of the table, before El Tri moved into third place for matchdays four, five and six. But defeats to Honduras and the United States sent the team tumbling down to fourth, then fifth before bouncing back to fourth and making it to Brazil thanks to a win over New Zealand in the playoff.

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While leading after mathday three does little for Mexico in the long-term, it's a nice boost and also means the top spot is El Tri's to lose.

But the job is hardly done. The top team after three rounds of matches last cycle was Panama, which eventually fell to fifth and missed out on World Cup qualification.

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