Pedigree For all the fretting over the United States’ path to Qatar, it was Mexico — ordinarily a shoo-in for the top spot in Concacaf — that made heavy weather of qualification. Gerardo Martino’s team failed to beat either the U.S. or Canada, home or away, and those failures followed Mexico’s losing both the Nations League and the Gold Cup to its northern neighbor.

Ambition Anything, really, that is not elimination in the round of 16. That has been Mexico’s fate in each of the last seven tournaments. Martino’s task is to ensure there is not an eighth. Ideally, he would do that by making the quarterfinals, not by being eliminated in the group stage.

Key Question Much will ride on the outcome of Mexico’s meeting with Poland, a game that had the air of a straight shootout almost as soon as the draw was made. In Hirving Lozano, Edson Álvarez and Raúl Jimenez, Mexico has the talent. Its nerve will be tested.

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