Mexico eases past El Salvador to book spot at 2022 World Cup

Mexico booked its place in the 2022 World Cup on Wednesday night, beating El Salvador 2-0 during a CONCACAF Octagonal match to secure a spot in Qatar.

With an altered XI from manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino that featured five changes from Mexico's previous lineup, El Tri hit the ground running at the Estadio Azteca with a goal from Cruz Azul's Uriel Antuna in the 17th minute. Antuna, who was in the XI for the first time since January, then won a penalty late in the first half, perfectly setting up striker Raul Jimenez to score from the spot and make it 2-0 by the 43rd minute.

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Mexico continued to look likely to score in the second half, pushing for another goal with key players like Hirving "Chucky" Lozano and Jesus "Tecatito" Corona coming off the bench, but were stifled by the visitors.

Nonetheless, Mexico's two goals were more than enough to secure three points and a place in the World Cup.

Mexico will enter Qatar with seven previous World Cup appearances and seven consecutive exits in the round of 16, having only reached the quarterfinal stage when serving as hosts in 1986 and then in 1970. Due to these consistent early departures in the knockout round, reaching the fifth game at the World Cup has turned into a sought-after objective among El Tri fans.

Mexico will be placed in Pot 2 for the World Cup draw, which will be held Friday at 12 p.m. ET, to decide the eight four-team groups.