Mexico's national soccer team secured a berth in the 2014 World Cup by wrapping up a victory over New Zealand Wednesday in inter-regional qualifying action.
After routing the Ziwis 5-1 last week in Mexico City, the Mexicans kept up their scoring onslaught at Westpac Stadium in Wellington to grab a 4-2 away win and a 9-3 victory on aggregate.
Oribe Peralta was the star once again for the Mexicans, scoring a first-half hat-trick that quickly erased all of New Zealand's hopes of an improbable comeback in the home-and-away playoff.
Peralta, who also was the hero of Mexico's goal-medal-winning squads in the 2011 Pan American Games and the 2012 London Olympics, scored his goals in the 14th, 29th and 33rd minutes.
In the first half, the Mexican team boasted a well-organized defense, creativity in midfield with Carlos Alberto Peņa and Miguel Layun and effectiveness up front with forwards Peralta and Raul Jimenez.
Peralta's first and third goals were assisted by Peņa, while a pass from Layun set up his second successful strike.
New Zealand, meanwhile, squandered a golden opportunity to score in the first half when Jeremy Brockie failed to convert a penalty kick.
Mexico, which enjoyed an 8-1 lead on aggregate at the start of the second half, came out conservatively and allowed New Zealand to produce more threats on goal.
That attacking mindset led to a score by Chris James on a penalty kick in the 80th minute, while Rory Fallon added another goal two minutes later for New Zealand.
But Mexico still led by five goals on aggregate and Peņa pushed the margin to six with a final strike in the 87th minute.
Mexico became the 31st of 32 teams to book a spot in next year's World Cup in Brazil.
The final qualifier will be the winner of a home-and-away inter-regional playoff pitting Uruguay and Jordan.
Uruguay routed the Middle Eastern country 5-0 in Amman and will host the second and final leg Wednesday in Montevideo.
Mexico was forced to play off against Oceania champion New Zealand for a World Cup berth after finishing fourth behind the United States, Costa Rica and Honduras in qualifying action in the CONCACAF region. EFE
(c) 2013 EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc.
Original headline: Mexico qualifies for World Cup
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