Mexico cruises to win over Costa Rica 

September, 11, 2012

Without incident, without controversy and in dominating fashion, Mexico calmly clinched a spot in the next phase of World Cup qualification after Tuesday's 1-0 win against Costa Rica. While its rivals to the north labored through a difficult match against Jamaica, which could have sent them into a precarious position, Mexico had little worry that it would not advance.

And in the first half, Mexico played passively, like a team that was practically assured of qualifying for the hexagonal. Meanwhile, Costa Rica played with the sense of urgency of a team fighting for its World Cup life -- which it was. Several Ticos players said prior to last week's match that the home contest was practically a must-win if they intended to advance toward Brazil. Having lost that match 2-0, Costa Rica was forced to open up offensively.

While in Costa Rica, the Ticos were content to sit back and counter in the first half. At Estadio Azteca, they pushed aggressively up the field. Forwards, who sat back in the defensive zone last week, now crept up toward Jesus Corona's goal. And for most of the first half they controlled the game offensively. Mexico hardly threatened.