Is 'El Tri' Cursed? Mexico's Sad History Of Not Making World Cup Quarter Finals In 20 Years

Mexico's Giovani Dos Santos, Alan Pulido and Javier Hernandez (L-R) react after losing their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game against the Netherlands at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza June 29, 2014. Reuters

The Mexican national team has placed among the top 16 teams in the World Cup since the 1994 U.S. Championship, starring in dramatic duels in the second round where El Tri ends up knocked out. Hopes were high in this World Cup and with good reason - the draw against Brazil and the win over Croatia both seemed to herlad a new era in Mexican football. However, it was not to be: in the last six minutes of play, the Netherlands cemented a twenty year curse.

Mexico's tragedy in the second round goes back to the match against Bulgaria in 1994, which had to be decided with a penalty shoot out after a 1-1 draw in regulation time. El Tri could only score one goal, while the European team got three to progress to the next round. In France 1998, 'El Tri' returned to the second round, and this time they played they played the German team led by Klinsmann and Bierhoff from the box. Mexico surprised the Germans with a goal from Luis Hernandez, but they could not stave off defeat.

The opportunity to take their revenge came four years later in Korea-Japan. The Tricolor, as group winners, were faced with an old enemy: the United States, but our northern neighbors surprised Mexico to prevail 2-0.  A new knockout game came in Germany 2006 against Argentina. The tricolor went up with a goal from Rafael Marquez,  however, a few minutes later Hernán Crespo drew scores level. In extra time Maxi Rodriguez scored a goal that sent El Tri out of the World Cup again.

Mexican and Argentina met again in South Africa 2010, but this time, with Lionel Messi on the field, the Argentine's were superior and two shots from Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain decimated El Tri despite a  goal from Javier Hernandez. In Brazil 2014, Miguel Herrera was sure he could redeem a poor World Cup qualifying performance and end a straight knockout streak since 1994. Giovani dos Santo seemed to have the answer, but it was no to be. Goals from Sneijder and Huntelaar sealed Mexico's second round fate.

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Oscar Lopez is a Brooklyn-based writer. Originally from Mexico, Oscar moved with his family to Australia in 2000. Graduating from the University of Melbourne in 2011 with a BA (Honors) Oscar was awarded the Keith Macartney Scholarship for the Arts, the Louise Homfrey Award and the Hannah Barry Memorial Award. As well as reporting for Latin Times, Oscar's writng has been featured in Newsweek, New York Magazine ( and Musee Magazine.