Undefeated throughout qualifying to date, Mexico already have one foot in the World Cup Finals in Russia next year. Mexico take on Panama on Saturday morning, with the visitors themselves still in the hunt for automatic qualification, despite having won just one of their matches to date.
World Cup 2018 Qualifying – Estadio Azteca, Mexico City – Saturday 2nd September – 02:30 UK Time
Best Odd of: 1/3 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 15/4 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 9/1 at Ladbrokes
Despite having failed to deliver in both the Confederations Cup and Gold Cup already this year, Mexico have been in impressive form throughout qualifying, conceding just two goals on their way to four wins from six matches. Panama have been draw specialists so far, however a trip to Mexico City is likely to test the relative minnows to the maximum.
Mexico Team News & Form
Having won four and drawn two of their six matches played, Mexico will be the overwhelming favourites to earn another victory over Panama this weekend. Head coach Juan Carlos Osorio is under pressure to deliver following a frustrating Gold Cup campaign, with his desire to rotate the Mexican starting line-up having confused some supporters.
Former Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez has been left out of the squad after recent off-field issues, however Hirving Lozano returns to action for Mexico having made a fine start to life in Holland with PSV. Elsewhere, having returned to action with Pachuca recently, Erick Gutierrez could well start for the home side on Saturday morning, alongside Porto winder Jesus Corona, who is back in the squad after personal issues. Star man Javier Hernandez will be a constant threat for the visitors, with the West Ham United man having already opened his account in the Premier League.
Panama Team News & Form
Herman Dario Gomez has seen his side register four draws throughout qualifying to date, and with just a single win to their name, Panama are in need of points as they look to qualify for the finals automatically, rather than through the play-offs. Scoring goals has been Panama’s main issue, with just four of their shots finding the back of the net from six matches. As a result, the emphasis may well fall to Gabriel Torres, with the Lausanne striker having scored 12 international goals. Meanwhile, midfielders Armando Cooper and Anibal Godoy will be looking to continue their good form from the MLS this year.
Head to Head
Mexico have certainly got the better of their rivals over the years, winning 18 times, while losing just five matches. Panama’s last win over Mexico came back in 2013, when they defeated them twice during the Gold Cup. However, since this point, Mexico have won five out of the last six meetings, with a goalless draw being played out last time around back in November.
Betting Odds and Predictions
As expected, the majority of bookmakers list Mexico as the firm favourites for victory, with best odds for a home win currently at 1/4 with William Hill. Meanwhile, for those looking to back what would be a surprise victory for the away side, the same platform offers customers odds of 11/1.
Elsewhere, wagering on their being over 2.5 goals is a good option given the amount of goals in which Mexico have scored to date, with Ladbrokes offering odds of 21/20 here.
Top Betting Tip
Our top betting tip for this match is to bet on Javier Hernandez to score at any point during the 90 minutes, which can be found at best odds of 10/1 with Ladbrokes.