Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Who is the Giant?

I don't think there's any giant any more - unless they are Gemini giants. But I didn't put together this ESPN Deportes report on the topic.

Desk announcer: Let’s go to our special report on “Who is the Giant of CONCACAF?”
Voiceover: The reality of the past ten years is forceful. The United States has gotten the better of the Mexican team. Coaches from Manuel Lapuente to Hugo Sanchez have been in charge, and none has stopped the domination of the North Americans, who have won eight of the last nine games in their territory.
Daniel Guzman: They’d used to say, “You’re playing the U.S.” and we’d laugh, because we expected to win easily. Now, if we’re talking about the U.S, there’s a little fear and respect. They’ve grown a lot – not only the U.S., but other teams in Central America.
VO: The growth of the U.S. is based on their ambitious focus.
DG: Without a doubt, it’s a great example of their consistency, their perseverance – the project has been to better than any team in the Americas and reach on to be world champions.
VO: Oswaldo Sanchez suffered through the two most recent losses to the U.S. One was in the debut of Hugo Sanchez as coach, the other was in the final of the Gold Cup. The Santos goalkeeper recognizes the improvement of the North Americans.
Oswaldo Sanchez: Yes, in truth, yes. They’ve got a competitive league. For years, we could score many goals against them and now it’s not so easy.
VO: The United States has qualified for the last five World Cups while Mexico, in that same period missed Italy ’90 in the scandal of using overage players. But it’s also a realit that the neighbors of the U.S. have continued to grow their level of soccer.
Miguel Calero: Obviously. The whole world grows. Their soccer has grown, as has that of Costa Rica, Honduras, Salvador, Guatemala, everybody has grown.
Andres Chivita: Sure, everyone has gotten better – the little teams have grown. So it gets more complicated to play them every time.
Fausto Pinto: yes, they’ve grown and worked and have improved. I think Mexico has grown as well. They’ve put themselves closer to that top level of teams in all of the Americas, teams like Argentina. We’ll all growing and doing things better.
VO: In the last few years, the matches between the two teams have been so hotly contested that they’ve become the “classico” of CONCACAF.
OS: Playing against the U.S. is to the death. You’ve got to win that regional matchup, it’s clear. I’m not lying.
Oscar Perez: Yes, but not only against the United States – against Costa Rica, with Honduras – you have to play those to the death, with everything, or it’s going to go over your head. With that mentality, that’s how all the players have to think.
Jose Pekerman: I see a individual competition there that has leveled out recently.
Joaquin Beltran: I do think there’s parity between the U.S. and Mexico. It’s clear that both sides have players in Europe in good leagues, that they have intense games, all the way down to the youth levels.
VO: Despite the statistics, Fausto Pinto believes that the U.S. hasn’t reached the level of Mexico.
FP: I think on the league level, on the national team level, that Mexico has greater importance. We’ve done good things and have worked hard. But they’ve improved a lot in a short amount of time. We respect that. In terms of soccer, though, I still think Mexico is better.
VO: Mexico has the chance to reverse recent poor results against the U.S. Wednesday. Hugo Sanchez has the team capable of doing that.

Debate among the commentators follows.



The moment USMNT acts like the CONCACAF "Giant," it will become just like Mexico: unrealistic expectations and underachievement against region rivals.

I think its crucial for all Mexican soccer fans to pay close attention to the level of play in the MLS and accept that the playing field is more closer than they think. Maybe not better, but close.

Just my dos centavos

Jon E said...

Yeah, I don't feel like the US is a "giant" of CONCACAF. I think that lately we've played better against Mexico than they have against us, but they've played better against quality non-CONCACAF teams, especially in big games (WC, Copa America). If we ever forget how closely matched we are, Mexico could easily take us apart 3-0.

And I REALLY wouldn't want to listen to that gloating.

Pablo said...

Thanks for posting these videos Andrea!

Especially since I don't have cable TV these days.

Matt Y said...

Those guys have it dead on...the commentators I mean. Really good video. I've been telling my Mexican friends that the best thing to happen to Mexican Futbol is the rise of the US.

The commentator made my exact point..before Mexico didn't have to struggle to dominate the region and now that they have competition the Mexican Federation is working way harder and one could argue that Mexico has it's best team ever..

Anonymous said...

I agree. Mexico might not like losing to the US, but it's actually a blessing in disguise because it forces Mexican soccer to improve and not rest on it's laurels. The fact that the US has improved will give Mexico the boost to make the jump to the next level.

mosler said...

Thanks very much for the translation.

...none has stopped the domination of the North Americans, who have won eight of the last nine games in their territory.

Isn't Mexico also in North America?

A.C. said...

Yeah, Mexico is in North America, but they call the U.S. North America, even as some criticize the U.S. people for claiming the title "Americans". It's confusing.

Anonymous said...

They outta call it the NAFTA classic!
"TRi vs. tri-color"
"The Border War"