When Mexico meet Germany in the Confederations Cup semi-finals, one of world football’s most entrenched hoodoos goes on the line. Mexico almost never beat Germany. And there was me, as an Englishman, reckoning they were our bogey team.
No. In Mexico City mothers tell their children to go straight to sleep or Die Mannscahft will come and get them. Just like they have to their fathers down the years on the football pitch.
The two teams have met ten times. Mexico have won only once, losing four and drawing five. Twenty goals have been conceded with 12 scored. Against the old East Germany they won once in seven.
But how relevant is it? The two teams last met in 2005 – again in the Confederations Cup with Germany winning 4-3. But no players survive from that game. And how many of the current crop are actually even aware of the head-to-heads? I’d wager almost none.
We have to be wary about putting too much stock in historical, largely irrelevant statistics. This is one of them. It would be a different story if they have met three times in the last three years but they haven’t.
Another pertinent question is this: how many times did Mexico go up against a virtual reserve Germany team during that sequence? Probably never. But they will on Wednesday. This is not the Germany which is renowned as a world powerhouse. It’s an experimental squad.
It is also arguable that this is probably the best Mexico team for some time. They are unbeaten in 11 competitive matches. We were on them last time out against Russia, who they despatched with ease 2-1.
They didn’t win the group but they would have been more than happy with the seven points they accrued. We also like the fact they have started slowly but got better and better. They could be peaking at the right time.
Mexico go forward with gusto thanks to a midfield with keeps possession with ease. And on the wings they have a variety of options to keep the Germans on their toes.