Many pundits believe it is bad for the United States and CONCACAF if Mexico fails to make the World Cup in Brazil. This is false for both parties.
Could Mexico actually miss out?
Mexico’s back-to-back losses in September make the possibility of missing the World Cup due to their on the field performance very real. That is why Mexico has threatened to changed their upcoming home game against Panama from the night to the middle of day when it is the hottest and smoggiest in Azteca. First, for the Mexican Federation to move their home game against Panama to the middle of the day would absolutely be bush league. However, it is absolutely necessary Mexico cannot afford not to win this game. A loss to Panama all but eliminates Mexico from the World Cup and a draw will force Mexico into needing to get a result in Costa Rica who has won all 4 of their home games thus far in the hex.
Mexico missing out would be good for the United States.
Luis Gil is a 19 year-old California born Mexican-American who currently starts for Real Salt Lake and has played 51 times for the United States on the U-17, U-18, U-20, U-21 and U-23 teams. Luis Gil is also the product of the IMG Soccer Academy and has been with Real Salt Lake since 2010. Despite a soccer background firmly rooted in the U.S. system, rumors have swirled that Gil may switch allegiances and decide to play his senior international career with Mexico. Luis Gil is not the only promising young player who has had the choice between playing for the United States or Mexico. Julio Morales, Joe Corona, Edgar Castillo and Miguel Ángel Ponce have also had to face similar choices.
Aron Jóhannson was born in Mobile, AL before moving to Iceland at the age of three. Aron played 10 times for Iceland’s U-21 team. However, in the Summer of 2013 he made the switch to the United States where he received his first cap for the United States in a friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Despite no official statement speculation has been that Aron made the switch because his chance of playing in the World Cup is greatly increased by playing by the United States instead of Iceland.
The Luis Gil situation shows that there is many high class players who are faced with choice to play for either Mexico or the United States and the Aron Jóhannson situation shows that playing in the World Cup is a factor that matters in choosing to play for the United States or another country. This all means that if the United States continues to qualify for World Cups and Mexico struggles. The United States will gain an advantage over Mexico. This will become more important in the future as the Hispanic population in the United States is projected to triple by 2050. Meaning that the battle for players between Mexico and the United States will only become more important over the next couple of decades.
Mexico missing out would be good for CONCACAF.
What do the national teams of England, Russia/USSR, France, Portugal and the Netherlands all have in common? Other than being a part of UEFA and currently being ranked in the top 25 they have all missed at least one of the last seven World Cups, the same time in which the U.S. has qualified for all seven. In fact those countries have never all qualified for the same World Cup. Despite all these big time teams missing the World Cup at one time or another UEFA has still remained the most dominate confederation in international soccer. This is because UEFA despite getting 13 of the 32 teams in the 2014 World Cup they have more than enough quality teams to fill those spots. Thus, fear mongering pundits who think that Mexico missing will damage the global view of CONCACAF is overstated. Big teams miss big tournaments it happens it is not the end of that team and certainly not their confederation.
In comparison CONCACAF only has three automatic bids and their fourth place team must play the winner of the OFC(which is New Zealand this time) to get into the World Cup. The only way CONCACAF can advance as a confederation is if they can prove they are deeper than just U.S. and Mexico. And, Mexico failing to qualify will give Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica a chance to show the world that they deserve to play in the world’s largest stage.
Additionally, the skeptic in me says that FIFA does not make decisions based on merit when allocating how many teams come from each confederation. Rather it is more likely done based on the financial interest of the respective confederations for example there is no way that AFC deserves near as many places as CAF. Under the Current rating AFC’s best nation is Japan at 42. Compared to CAF who has eight nations in the top 50. With five nations ranked ahead of Japan. The question is why does Asia get almost as many spots simply because Asia is richer than Africa. Thus, FIFA wants to please them more. This means that as interest continues to grow in the United States and thus North America, FIFA will continue to favor CONCACAF. That is why the 4th place CONCACAF team gets to play the OFC winner this time around instead of CONMEMBOL’s 5th place team (which will be #7 Uruguay or #20 Ecuador compared to #67 New Zealand). Thus, if you believe FIFA is corrupt they will only give CONCACAF more places if Mexico loses in order to ensure that a big soccer-rich country like Mexico does not miss out on the World Cup next time.
 Steve Davis, “Why the good, clean U.S. Soccer fans might WANT Mexico in the World Cup" Pro Soccer Talk, Sept. 11, 2013, http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2013/09/11/why-the-good-clean-u-s-soccer-fans-might-want-mexico-in-the-world-cup/.
 A win puts Mexico comfortably in 4th place with one game to go.
 If Mexico losses to Panama and Honduras gets a result at home against Costa Rica who has yet to win on the road in the hex or a result at bottom of the hex Jamaica, Mexico will be unable to catch Honduras. I think it is safe to assume that Honduras will pick up at least one point in the next two games. Thus going into the final game Mexico will need to go into Costa Rica who has yet to lose at home in the Hex. It should be noted though that Mexico did beat Costa Rica home and away last year in the previous round of qualifying. But even if Mexico does beat Costa Rica, they will need the United States to beat Panama in Panama and have goal deferential favor them. Thus, I believe Mexico is doomed to miss the World Cup if they lose at home to Panama.
 A tie to Panama will keep Mexico in 5th behind Panama on the second tie-breaker goals forced (first tie-breaker is goal differential). Thus if Mexico was to loss in Costa Rica, the only way they can get in is if the United States destroys Panama.
 IMG has produced current USMNT starters Tim Howard, DeMarcus Beasley and Eddie Johnson. IMG Academy, “Notable Alumni”, http://www.imgacademy.com/sports/boys-soccer/notable-alumni.
 Andrew Wiebe, “Mexico “seriously inquiring” about international services of Real Salt Lake, US U-20 midfielder Luis Gil” MLS Soccer, Sept. 18, 2013, http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2013/09/18/mexico-seriously-inquiring-about-international-services-real-salt-lake-us-u-
 Julio Morales was born in Glendale, CA on December 19, 1993. However Julio has been capped twice by the Mexican U-20 team.
 Joe Corona is a 23 year-old Mexican American who had one cap for the Mexican U-22 team in 2011 before choosing to play for the United States. Since joining the U.S. he has been caped 11 times and scored 2 goals for the senior national team.
 Edgar Castillo was capped by the Mexican national team three times before deciding to switch to the United States where he has been capped 13 times.
 24 year-old Miguel Ángel Ponce helped Mexico win gold at the 2012 Olympics in London despite being born in Sacramento California.
 See Joe Prince-Wright, “Aron Johannsson enrages Icelandic FA after switching allegiance to USA" Pro Soccer Talk, July 30, 2013, http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2013/07/30/aron-johannsson-enrages-icelandic-fa-after-switching-allegiance-to-us/; “AZ Alkmaar striker Aron Jóhannsson picks USA over Iceland” Pro Soccer Talk, July 29, 2013, http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2013/07/29/az-alkmaar-striker-aron-johannsson-picks-usa-over-iceland/.
 The United States has qualified for the last 7 world Cups 1990-2014 (7 out of the last 7). While if Mexico fails it will be the second time in the last seven World Cups that Mexico will not play.
 Haya El Nasser, “U.S. Hispanic population to triple by 2050” USA Today, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-02-11-population-study_N.htm
 England failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup after finishing behined Norway and the Netherlands in their qualification group (1994 was the last World Cup to feature less than 32 teams). Additionally, England failed to qualify for the 1974 and 1978 World Cups and the 2008 European Championships.
 Russia failed to qualify in 1998, 2006 and 2010.
 France failed to qualify in 1990 and 1994, even after finishing third in 1986. In 1998 France came back in a big way and won the 1998 World Cup.
 Portugal did not qualify for the 1990, 1994, and 1998 World Cups.
 The Dutch failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup.