MEXICO CITY: Mexico became the first CONCACAF nation to qualify for World Cup finals in Russia next team courtesy of a 1-0 wi n over Panama in Mexico City thanks to a 51st-minute header from substitute Hirving Lozano.

Lozano had been on the pitch only two minutes after replacing Juergen Damm.

He said: “I feel great. We’ve achieved our objective, now we need to keep working.”

Manager Juan Carlos Osorio’s team lead the six-team group with 17 points with three games to play and cannot now finish outside the top three spots that guarantee a place in Russia next June.

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

The US 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 enter a play-off with a side from the Asian confederation.

These will be Mexico’s seventh finals in succession and 16th overall, more than any other countries bar Brazil, Germany, Italy and Argentina.

The United States face an awkward time of it after losing 2-0 at home in New York to Costa Rica.