The playoff will begin in November.
Mexico plays in the CONCACAF region, which is the Confederation Of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football. FIFA chose to give CONCACAF three automatic qualifiers, which ended up being the U.S., Costa Rica and Honduras, and a half qualifier, which means Mexico plays the winner of the Oceanic Federation of Football in a playoff.
In other words, it still remains to be seen whether Mexico will play in next year's World Cup.
But, Mexico had to rely on the U.S. just to make the playoff. They had their chances to do it themselves, but couldn't get it done.
A tie would have guaranteed Mexico a playoff opportunity on their own merit. But, a tie was not meant to be against Costa Rica in San Jose. Mexico ended up losing, 2-1.
Before Mexico lost and the U.S. won over Panama, 3-2, in Panama City, the tides turned often enough that any fan of the Mexican National Team must have had their stomach swirl with a taste of vomit in their throats.
There had been hope for Mexico to get things accomplished all in one night, but, Honduras never gave Mexico the illusion of automatic qualification as they took the lead over Jamaica in the first minutes of the game and never fell behind, ending up in a tie, 2-2.
So, it was left up to the Yanks to come through for Mexico on a comeback.
Mexico went down a goal in the first half while the U.S. was also losing. The Mexican team was able to equalize a little later in the half and keep their hopes alive, but they couldn't count on the U.S., who was losing at halftime.
Then, the second halves of both games changed the destinies multiple times for Mexico and Panama.
Just as Costa Rica got a wonderful played goal to go up 2-1 in the 64th minute and Mexico's hopes began to fade, the U.S. scored to tie Panama, also in the 64th minute (the U.S. game started a couple of minutes after the Mexican game).
It remained the same score for Mexico, though. And, they would be eliminated from any World Cup contention because Panama scored again to lead 2-1 and would take Mexico's spot in the playoff versus New Zealand.
It looked dire for Mexico.
Then, the U.S. showed again why they are a major contender for their first World Cup title. In extra time, with a roster of mostly second teamers, the U.S. scored not once, but twice, to steal the win on the road from Panama and give Mexico one more life.
There you go, Mexico, there's your Holiday gift two months early. Mexican fans can rejoice for one more chance at redemption, but they know deep down, their cat's lives are running out.