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There’s good luck in proper Mexican headgear

The Gold Cup quarterfinals will be played out this weekend. On Saturday, Mexico will confront Trinidad & Tobago. This could be a post about what to expect from the game, the key areas of success, possible line-ups and/or the future of  Chepo.

But all that can take a back seat to what is really going to be on everyone’s mind — the ultimate question — What in the world will be going on with Efrain Velarde’s head?

On Sunday, when Mexico played its final group stage game against Martinique, Velarde and an opposing player both got hurt trying to head a ball. It was the Mexican, however, that came away with a blood-gushing wound.

After initial treatment, he looked like this …

Check out that hair!!!

velarde head wrap

But, a few minutes later, his bandage came flying off and blood poured out. Take two …

I. Can’t. Stop. Laughing.

velarde wrap 2

velarde net

Velarde’s head wound, if he dresses it at all, will require something much cooler than that. The docs should take inspiration from Julio Gomez, a 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup player.

Pssst … and they won the cup.

jgomez wrap

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London-bound. Let’s keep the hookers out of the hotel, eh?

The big news of the weekend — Mexico is going to London! Yeah, BABY!!!!

The top two teams of the region automatically go to the Summer Olymics. Though there’d be some bragging rights to winning CONCACAF’s Olympic qualifying tournament, the real goal was getting out of semis. And, Mexico did just that in a 3-1 victory over Canada. Tomorrow is the final.

But more than that, this was redemption for the Sub-23 Mexican team. 2011 was a red-letter year for Mexican soccer. Chicharito and friends stampeded through the CONCACAF Gold Cup and came back from behind to win the championship over the U.S. (There they are hoisting the Gold Cup trophy.)

The chavitos hosted the U-17 World Cup and had a Hollywood-esque game against Germany in the semi-finals. Complete with Olympic goals, bandaged heads and bicycle kicks. They won the whole thing and swept the awards — Gold, Silver and Bronze Balls. (There’s Julio Gomez rocking a bandage.)

And then we get to the Sub-23 team. What did they do? Well, they were sent to particpate in South America’s Copa America — where they had an epic fail, losing every single game.

But the drama started well before when eight players were suspended and sent home. Allegedly, some of the players invited prostitutes into their hotel. And those ladies of the night ended up stealing a lot of valuable electronics. Instead of keeping mum, the players report the stolen stuff. An investigation reveals the prositutes and the rule-breaking. Who would have thought differently?

How do you heal that wounded pride…? Win an Olympic bid for your country. I mean that will shut me up.

PHOTOS (from top): Mexico celebrates during Saturday, March 31 win over Canada; Andres Guardado, Gio Dos Santos and Chicharito celebrate Gold Cup win; U-17 player Julio Gomez kisses Golden Ball award.

A case for the nail-biters

Here’s a provocative question: What do you consider more exciting? To see your team dominate from the beginning and never let go or to see them work themselves back from a deficit to win the game?

This occurred to me yesterday as I watched the friendly between Mexico and Venezuela. After a scoreless first half, Venezuela came out and made the first blow. Shiiiiiiit.

Just when you think all is lost and you’re calling your team a bunch of pendejos who can’t even beat Venezuela, it happens. A goal. A tie. A sigh of relief.

It’s what happened in the last 20 minutes that made me want to write this post. It’s why you never rule out Mexico, why you don’t leave the stands early and why you don’t change the channel to the Laker game just yet. They have an annoying* tendency to score back-from-behind goals — not just enough to tie, but to take over leads and even add some insurance. (*Annoying because you can feel yourself getting greys from watching.)

Here’s a tale of two Gold Cups to prove my point. In 2009, Mexico beat USA 5-0. Fast and furious right out the gate (Apparently, it was operatic-level exciting). In 2011, Mexico rallied to beat USA 4-2 (Cardiac-level exciting).

Back to present-day. This highlight video rocks! Do yourself a favor and watch it. There’s priceless running commentary. (P.S. dude, Barcelona won. Any surprise there?)