Why is Mexico so Bad at Football? (Well-Explained!)

Last Updated on October 4, 2023 by Alex PT

Mexico is not necessarily bad at football, but they have a reputation for underperforming in major tournaments. This may be due to the lack of a strong domestic league or the national team’s reliance on a small number of star players.

Why is Mexico so bad in football?

Mexican national teams

From a statistical point of view, the numbers behind the Mexican national teams and clubs in both international and club football are impressive enough to categorize Mexico as a good footballing nation. Football is the most loved sport and it is widely played in all categories in the country. In addition to that, several players in the Mexican national team ply their trade in top leagues across the world, particularly in Europe and the United States. On the International stage, Mexico has produced top performances at several world cups and was privileged to host the most prestigious tournament in football on two different occasions. Furthermore, they are also a fantastic side in youth football, consistently producing an amazing football team at the U-17, U-20, and U-23 levels. They achieved their biggest feat in football during the London 2012 Olympic Games, defeating the mighty football powerhouse Brazil in the final to secure a Gold Medal in the football category. However, the country’s potential to become an elite footballing powerhouse on the international stage like Brazil and Spain is hindered by some apparent Underlying issues which will be highlighted and discussed below.


As a country that has proven itself as a competitive team against the elite nations in the international football world, Mexican football is arguably the most corrupt in the world which has proved detrimental to the country’s football growth both nationally and club level. Talents are ignored while mediocre players that have the luxury of connection or money go pro with ease. As a testament to how corruption has riddled Mexican football, football clubs in the MX league have been disbanded in the last 7 years on cases concerning bribery and corrupt practices. In addition to that, clubs with financial power can buy to get promoted or to avoid relegation. In finer detail, corruption is almost a normality in Mexican football as opposed to what we see in other successful football countries and this has ultimately contributed to the lack of achievements in football for a country of Mexico’s potential.


For several decades, Mexico for all teams across all levels has consistently proven itself that it can play great football and give the elite teams a run for their money. However,  They tend to slip up against relatively inferior teams which can be linked to the poor mentality of the players. In terms of quality, the Mexican team is blessed with enormous talent in their ranks and has players in the top leagues across the world of football. On several occasions, Teams with lesser talent and quality have provided great upset to shock the supposed powerhouse teams due to their strong mental approach to the games. However, it is on the contrary with the Mexican teams as they usually approach games at the pace set by their opposition and also lack concentration in defining moments, which has become its biggest shortcomings and disadvantage.


While talent and individual quality are never in doubt, Gross indiscipline is another major factor that has contributed to the lack of progress in Mexican football. Several cases of unacceptable behaviors have been reported in the senior National team camps, particularly in major tournaments. Such occurrences create a bad image of the country’s football in general and are a bad distraction from the football game. For instance, during the World Cup finals in 2010, Carlos Vela – who was arguably the best player in the squad and Efrain Juarez held a party right after the team’s victory over Columbia. As such behavior is considered a violation of the team rules, both players and other high-profile players in attendance were fined and banned to serve as a deterrent to other players. As a show of discontent with the decision, Carlos Vela refused to honor the subsequent call-up from the National team.


Mexico football teams are one the best at youth level in world football. The youth academies in the country are filled with youngsters with huge football potential and often compete well against the best football Academies in the world. However, the lack of continual investment in youth development has prevented the talented players from reaching their full potential, which will ultimately be beneficial to the National team and the country’s General growth in football.

Why can Mexico never transcend in the World Cup?

Mexico has experienced relative success in the World Cup, with several appearances in the knockout stages. However, they have not won the tournament or reached the semifinals since their home World Cup in 1970 and 1986. Several factors contribute to this challenge:

  1. Strong Competition: The World Cup features the best teams globally, including football powerhouses like Brazil, Germany, and Argentina. Mexico faces fierce competition, making it difficult to win the tournament.
  2. Quarterfinal Barrier: Mexico often reaches the Round of 16 but struggles to progress further. They face strong teams in this stage, and a lack of experience in high-pressure knockout matches may be a factor.
  3. Inconsistent Performance: Mexico’s performance in World Cups can be inconsistent. They may excel in one tournament and underperform in another, affecting their chances of reaching the latter stages.
  4. Tactical Adaptation: Mexico’s tactical approach sometimes struggles to adapt to different opponents and game situations. Adapting strategies and game plans effectively is crucial in the World Cup.
  5. Mental Pressure: The pressure of representing a football-loving nation like Mexico can be immense. Handling the mental aspect of the World Cup is crucial, especially in high-stakes matches.
  6. Injury Concerns: Key players may suffer injuries before or during the tournament, impacting Mexico’s chances.
  7. Development Issues: The development of young talent and grassroots football in Mexico has improved but can still face challenges. Countries with stronger youth development systems have an advantage.
  8. Coach Selection: Coaching changes and instability can affect team performance. Consistency in coaching and long-term planning are vital.
  9. Penalty Shootouts: Mexico has a history of struggling in penalty shootouts, which often determine knockout-stage matches.
  10. Luck and Timing: Success in the World Cup can also depend on luck, timing, and the draw. A difficult group or unfavorable matchups can hinder progress.


We have a compiled list of frequently asked questions on why Mexico is so bad at football. Let’s have a look at them!

What is Mexico biggest achievement in football?

Definitely winning the gold medal in the football category at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Why does the Mexican national team plays their home games in the United States?

Logically, it is a subtle way for Mexico to make more money and increase its brand as they have a huge fan base in the United States.

Who is the greatest ever player to play for Mexico?

Although several soccer stars like Rafael Marquez, Carlos Vela, Hector Herrera, and Raul Jiminez have emerged through the decades, the greatest Mexican player ever is Hugo Sanchez.

Final words

Aside from corrupt practices and disciplinary issues that have riddled the Mexican football teams for several years, the country’s football is not bad in its entirety and has produced competitive teams that can go toe to toe with football elites at major tournaments. If youth development can be prioritized and the Mx league can be free from corruption, Mexican football, in general, would join the league of elites in the football world both at the National and club level. 

The resources gathered in this article are provided to answer all your queries about the article topic. Kindly reach out to us via the comments section if you have more questions.




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