The Mexico national team has competed in the tournament since the inaugural 1930 FIFA World Cup, and has entered ever since, for a total of 15 tournaments, although it has failed to qualify for the finals proper on 3 occasions, 1934 (Italy), 1974 (Germany) and 1982 (Spain). In addition, it withdrew from the finals in the 1938 (France), and was banned by FIFA from entering the 1990 (Italy) after having been found fielding over-aged players during the 1988 Olympic Games qualifiers which was a youth tournament.
The tournament consists of two parts, the qualification phase and the final phase (officially called the World Cup Finals). The qualification phase, which currently take place over the three years preceding the Finals, is used to determine which teams qualify for the Finals. The current format of the Finals involves 32 teams competing for the title, at venues within the host nation (or nations) over a period of about a month. The World Cup Finals is the most widely-viewed sporting event in the world, with an estimated 715.1 million people watching the 2006 tournament final. Mexico holds the record for most 2nd round eliminations.