The first leg of the inter continental playoff matches was a tour de force for Latin nations over rivals from Asia and Oceania, as Uruguay defeated Jordan 5-0 in Amman without going through too much trouble, while El Tri fans finally saw Mexico in a satisfying display of football, beating New Zealand 5-1 at the Azteca.
In both cases, the second leg in seven days means nothing and won’t change a thing, as Mexico will qualify to a sixth consecutive World Cup, while it’ll be only the second time in a row for Uruguay.
Jordan 0 Uruguay 5
After beating Japan and Australia during their group stage, Jordan had high hopes for the closest moment they’ve ever been in to qualify for the World Cup, the biggest match in the national football team’s history. However, dreams don’t always come true, as Uruguay didn’t really try to press or attack too much, simply making the most of the many mistakes the Jordanian defense kept making any time a ball was crossed into their box. Edinson Cavani finished the match with a beautiful free kick to finish the job, following the goals that came from Maxi Pereira, Christian Stuani, Nicolás Lodeiro and a fantastic finish from Cristian Rodriguez.
Mexico 5 New Zealand 1
Similar to the first match of the day, only the home fans leaving happy. After a terrible campaign, Mexico fans finally saw an aggressive, attacking and pleasing on the eye, although it had something to do with the terrible Kiwis defense. Miguel Herrera’s style is constant pressure through his 3-5-2 system that won him the most recent league title with Club America, and his locals-only approach worked perfectly, going down at half time with the ticket to the World Cup in the bag. Paul Aguilar and Raul Jimenez scored late in the first half as it seemed the entire nation exhaled in one huge sigh of relief, and the crosses kept embarrassing the New Zealand defense, leading to goals from Oribe Peralta (twice) and Rafael Marquez.