Donovan hopeful Mexico will qualify for World Cup

The U.S. national team star has had his share of success against Mexico through the years, but that isn't stopping him from hoping El Tri qualify for the World Cup.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Mexican national team's struggles have become a source of joy for a number of U.S. fans, but one person who isn't eager to see Mexico fail to qualify for the 2014 World Cup is someone most might think would be rooting against them.

Landon Donovan wants to see Mexico in the World Cup, and while he stopped short of saying he is rooting for El Tri, he did make it clear he hopes to see Mexico join the USA in Brazil next summer.

"At the end of the day, it's better for us and for CONCACAF if Mexico's in the World Cup," Donovan said. "We don't play thinking about how it affects Mexico, but I would still hope that they will find a way to qualify.

"That being said, I have a teammate now that plays for Panama (LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo) that I also want in, so we'll see what happens."

Donovan's sentiment is one shared by U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who stated after the U.S. team's win versus Mexico in September that he was hoping to see El Tri qualify, and did not see a scenario in which the team failed to do so.

Klinsmann's decision to bring a full-strength teams to the final two World Cup qualifiers, especially the finale against Panama, is a move that could wind up benefiting Mexico, but in Donovan's mind, that isn't the driving force behind the decision to trot out a strong team for the USA's final qualifiers.

"We owe it to all the other teams involved to put our best team out," Donovan said. "It's not fair if we bring an under-18 team and lose 5-0 two games in a row, so we have to take it seriously."

The interesting aspect of Mexico's path to qualifying for the World Cup is the fact that the USA can have a hand in helping get it to Brazil. The USA finishes its Hexagonal matches Tuesday in Panama City, and it could beat Panama to help clear the way for Mexico to finish in fourth place in the CONCACAF qualifying group — a spot that would still require Mexico to beat New Zealand to secure a place in the World Cup.

Mexico could take a major step toward controlling its own destiny by beating Panama on Friday in Mexico City, which would leave El Tri needing a draw versus Costa Rica in the group stage finale to secure fourth place.