A FIFA recognized title. That is exactly what Mexico earned in 1999, and doing so over the most infamous football nation in the world. Mexico was optimistic at the 1998 World cup, only to fall short against Germany 2-1. The tournament was held in Mexico, and contained the following countries: Mexico, Brazil, Germany, USA, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bolivia and New Zealand.
In the group stages Mexico was solid, winning two games and tying one finishing as the leader of group A. In the knockout, rounds Mexico faced its rival from the North. The United States had a solid group performance, losing only to Brazil by one, and even defeated Germany 2-0. Mexico felt the pressure of beating its rival at home, and it showed. It took extra minutes for Mexico to get a score, but it was Cuauhtemoc Blanco who put the Mexicans in the final. Brazil won soundly against Saudi Arabia 8-2, and looked as the favorites to win in Azteca.
Mexico knew it needed to push offensively against the powerhouse known as Brazil. In the 13th minute, Mexico did just that with a goal from Zepeda. Mexico once again shocked Brazil with a goal in the 28th minute from Abundis. ‘El tri’ played a solid first half, with exception of a penalty, which allowed Brazil to remain in the game. In the second half…total fireworks to say the least. Just two minuets into the second half Roni of Brazil equalized the game at 2-2. Mexico had to respond and only a few minutes later, after losing the lead they did exactly that. Zepeda added another to his name in the 51st minute putting Mexico up 3-2.
The biggest play of the game came off a flub by Brazil, giving Mexico a break away. Rafa Marquez found Blanco with a cross to the right, and Blanco with his magic put Mexico two goals up and minuets closer to the title. Though knowing the strength of Brazil, only a minuet later Ze Roberto brought Brazil a bit closer with a goal. 4-3 was the score fans were dying to see Mexico finish the game at. Mexico had to fight as hard as they could, but the 90th minute came, and the victory was theirs. Mexico acquired its first FIFA title that sets itself apart from all of the CONCACAF nations. It is a moment none of us will forget, and can only hope we will see again…very soon.