September 2, 2017 / 4:52 AM / 10 months ago

Mexico qualify for World Cup with win over Panama

MEXICO CITY, Sep 1 (Reuters) - Mexico became the first CONCACAF side to qualify for the Russia World Cup on Friday when an Hirving Lozano goal gave them a 1-0 win over Panama at the Azteca stadium.

Football Soccer - Mexico v Panama - World Cup 2018 Qualifiers - Azteca Stadium, Mexico City, Mexico - September 1, 2017. Mexico's player Hirving Lozano celebrates his goal against Panama. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

They secured the points thanks to substitute Lozano, who scored with a header just two minutes after replacing Juergen Damm.

The Mexicans lead the six-team group with 17 points and cannot now finish outside the top three spots that guarantee a place in Russia next June.

“Congratulations to MEXICO who have qualified for Russia 2018 thanks to Hirving Lozano’s winner,” FIFA said on their website.

The Mexicans are three points ahead of second-placed Costa Rica and nine points clear of the United States and Honduras.

The U.S. and Honduras meet on Tuesday, which guarantees that Mexico can not be overtaken for one of the top three places in the group.

The fourth-placed team goes into a play-off with a side from the Asian confederation.

The qualification is Mexico’s seventh in succession and 16th overall, more than any other countries bar Brazil, Germany, Italy and Argentina.

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Writing by Andrew Downie; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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