WORLD CUP APPEARANCES
WORLD CUP RECORD
Quarter-Finals (1970, 1986)
GOALS SCORED (RANK)
Mexico participated in the inaugural World Cup, but ranked last out of 13 teams in the final standings. The team scored four goals while allowing 13 for the worst goal differential of the tournament.
Did Not Participate
World Cup Not Held
The 1950 World Cup was equally unkind to Mexico. The team’s -8 goal differential tied with Bolivia for the worst in the tournament as Mexico again finished 0-0-3.
The third time was not the charm for Mexico. In its third World Cup appearance, Mexico again failed to win a game. However, France needed a late penalty kick to defeat Mexico 3-2 in their matchup.
Having already lost 3-0 to Sweden, Mexico was on the verge of a 1-0 loss to Wales when Jaime Belmonte scored a goal in the 89th minute to salvage a draw. It was Mexico’s first non-loss in four trips to the World Cup, but the team still finished 0-1-2, failing to advance to the Knockout Stage.
After shutout losses to Brazil and Spain, Mexico’s matchup with Czechoslovakia began by giving up a goal in the first minute. But Mexico rallied to win 3-1 and claim its first World Cup victory. Czechoslovakia went on to finish runner-up to Brazil.
Mexico continued its slow upward climb in 1966, registering draws against France and Uruguay, coupled with a 2-0 loss to eventual champion and tournament host, England. However, the team’s 0-2-1 record missed the cut for the Knockout Stage.
Mexico hosted the 1970 World Cup, and the home support helped the country to its best performance yet. A scoreless draw against the Soviet Union was followed up with shutout victories over El Salvador and Belgium. Mexico advanced to the Knockout Stage for the first time but lost to Italy in the Quarter-finals.
After stringing together six straight World Cup appearances, Mexico didn’t make the cut in 1974. Returning in 1978, the team finished 0-0-3 and surrendered 12 goals, half of which came in a 6-0 loss to West Germany.
Mexico again hosted the World Cup in 1986 and achieved its first outright Group Stage victory, besting Paraguay, Belgium and Iraq with a 2-1-0 record. Mexico then won its first ever Knockout Stage game, defeating Bulgaria 2-0. In the Quarter-finals, Mexico lost to eventual runner-up West Germany on penalty kicks.
Mexico’s group at the 1994 World Cup could not have been more evenly matched. Joined by the Republic of Ireland, Italy and Norway, each country finished with a 1-1-1 record and a goal differential of zero. Mexico won the group on goals scored, with three, but lost in the Round of 16 to Bulgaria.
A 1-2-0 record matched the Netherlands for the best in the group, but the Netherlands took first with a +5 goal difference that topped Mexico’s +2. Mexico still advanced though, losing to Germany in the Round of 16.
Mexico won its group in 2002, defeating Croatia and Ecuador to go along with a 1-1 draw against Italy. The team’s Knockout Stage struggles continued though, as Mexico lost 2-0 to the United States in the Round of 16.
At the 2006 World Cup, Mexico emerged from the Group Stage on the strength of a 1-1-1 record that featured a win against Iran, a draw versus Angola and a loss to Portugal. In the Knockout Stage, Mexico lost 2-1 to Argentina.
Four years later, Mexico matched its 1-1-1 Group Stage record. This time around, the win was over France, the draw with South Africa and the loss to Uruguay. It was again enough to advance, but the Round of 16 saw a rematch with Argentina that didn’t go in Mexico’s favor.
The most impressive game in Mexico’s 2-1-0 Group Stage showing may have been its scoreless draw with host Brazil. Mexico took second in the group due to Brazil’s superior goal differential. In the Round of 16, the team fell to the Netherlands, the eventual third-place finisher.
Mexico has been remarkably consistent of late, advancing to the Knockout Stage in six straight World Cups. However, each trip has ended in the Round of 16. The team will look to reach the Quarter-finals for the first time since 1986.