International: New Zealand's All Whites vs Mexico's El Tri for 2014 World Cup spot

Doug Pensinger

The All Whites are playing Mexico after all in World Cup qualifying

A wild night in qualifying saw the United States eliminate Panama from qualifying with two goals in stoppage time for a 3-2 win Tuesday, thus keeping Mexico's 2014 World Cup aspirations alive. The thousands of soccer fans not suffering carpal tunnel from switching between two tight, concurrent games are undoubtedly calling their cable providers trying to figure out what BeIn Sport is and how they can get it.

But here it is: Mexico versus New Zealand in a home-and-away World Cup qualifier decided on aggregate goals.

If Mexico doesn't qualify, there are some serious problems south of the border. In fact I'm just going to say it right now: should New Zealand qualify for the 2014 World Cup, expect to see Miracle: Part II, with Kurt Russell as All-Whites coach Ricki Herbert in the not-too-distant future.

New Zealand remain undefeated--but also winless--in their North American travels after a second consecutive scoreless draw, this time against Trinidad & Tobago. The All Whites scored a solitary goal, against local PDL side Ventura County Fusion, which, again, is a PDL side.

Here's where I might be wrong: for all of the magnificent abundance of talent within the Mexican system, they haven't really shown the mental toughness of a champion. They are prone to gaffes, lapses and bouts of malaise.

Mental fortitude is where the Kiwis have an edge. If it comes down to last thirty minutes with one goal to win it, I'd go opposite of Wesley Snipes (too dated?) and put my money on the All Whites.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

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