Just how many fans will fill Azteca on Thursday night? (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

Any time the U.S. and Mexico clash in a soccer game, it is a big deal.

Thursday’s World Cup qualifying confrontation between those two archrivals  at Estadio Azteca could be something even more special.

It could very well be the last qualifier between the two sides ever, or at least in quite a while.

Why?

Well, neither country will have to qualify for the 2026 World Cup because they are tri-hosts along with Canada.

By the time qualifying begins for the 2030 tournament, most likely in 2028, there are strong indications that neither the U.S. men’s national team nor Mexico won’t meet in qualifying.

For the 48-team competition in 2030, Concacaf will receive six spots, which could change its qualifying format.

A lot can happen between now and then.

Given that the crowd at the Azteca is expected to be considerably less than the usual teeming 100,000-plus El Tri supporters (thanks to sanctions on the Mexicans due to their fans’ shouts of profanities), the atmosphere could be a bit anti-climactic.

So, wi6th all the drama, nail-biting moments, and some mini controversies thrown in, enjoy the show.

We might not see it again.