Alexi Lalas: ‘Will the real El Tri please stand up?’

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Mexico backed into the round of 16 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup™. Alexi Lalas wonders if the El Tri team that beat Germany and South Korea can show up again in the knockout round.

ALEXI LALAS: Mexico laid an egg today, but it ended up being gold. They backed into the round of 16, thanks to a gift from their new best friends South Korea, who pulled off a 2-0 win against Germany, sending the defending champs crashing out.

Mexico was all out of sorts, and they left us asking, will the real "El Tri" please stand up? Now, this is a team that, after the first two games, was talking about a new attitude, a new mentality, a new identity.

For the most under-performing national team in history given their consistent talent, this was supposed to be different. And initially, they backed it up on the field, playing with a dynamic and ruthless efficiency, an attack, and a team defense that stifled and frustrated the opposition and minimized individual mistakes.

But the 3-0 loss against Sweden was concerning. The old Mexico showed up with sloppy play, poor composure, and disorganization.

Mexico still hasn't accomplished anything, yet. They've gotten out of the group plenty of times. But the elusive game 5 is the promised land.

And now, mighty Brazil stands in their way. So, the Mexico team that won hearts and minds by beating Germany and South Korea needs to show up again. Otherwise, it was all just a big tease.