Only two months separate the Mexican men’s national team from the first match of the group stage of the World Cup against Poland on November 22. Before traveling to Qatar Three will play two friendly matches in California: against Peru (September 24) at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena and against Colombia (September 27) at Levy Stadium in Santa Clara.
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Leading up to the games, there was little sign that Mexico had cleared the rust that had made World Cup qualification and previous friendly matches an ordeal for manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino and his squad. During Tuesday’s press conference, injury worries, fan dissatisfaction and management issues surrounded the team, which has just won one of its last five.
Mexico has been far from the best, and in the hope that they will find some much-needed confidence this month, here are a few questions that continue to haunt them ahead of the World Cup.
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Will untimely injuries haunt Mexico?
Ideally, Martino should have his best players for the upcoming friendlies as they prepare for the World Cup. Instead, he will now have to continue his work without some of his big names.
Martino said star striker Raul Jimenez has no chance to play this week due to injury. Martineau made no guarantee that the Wolverhampton Wanderers frontman would also be in the World Cup, stating “I never thought we’d be in this situation… I need to think about it a lot.”
While with the team, Jimenez is doing recovery training alongside Ajax Amsterdam’s Jorge Sanchez and Monterrey duo Rogelio Funes Mori and Luis Romo, who are ready to leave camp ahead of the game against Colombia. FC Houston Dynamo midfielder Hector Herrera is also in question and is currently being examined by the medical team.
Along with a serious leg injury to Sevilla’s Jesús “Tecatito” Corona in August that will likely keep him out of the World Cup – although Martino noted they were going to re-examine him in early October – Mexico suddenly had a little over a third of them the best XI are not completely healthy.
This now means that the next two games will be key in finding who can be a possible replacement. Substitutes like Henry Martin, Santiago Jimenez, Diego Lines, Orbelin Pineda, Eric Gutierrez, Luis Chavez, Kevin Alvarez and more should be able to claim minutes and put aside any injury concerns. However, if solutions do not arise, skepticism is around Three will only get stronger before the World Cup.
There is Three leadership invalid?
When times hit hard in Mexico, which was, in fact, the last year or so, many fans and the media yearned for old school leaders like the eccentrically brash Cuauhtemoc Blanco or the more resilient and determined Rafael Márquez.
The alleged lack of strong-willed leadership has been the subject of discussion, but is it necessary?
“They say that there are no leaders in the national team, this is not true. They say this because they are looking for a leader from the past: a grumbler, a scolder, someone who demonstrates, and this has changed, ”Captain Andres said. Guardado on Tuesday about the alleged lack of team names.
Guardado later made the right point by admitting that he preferred to be a more open and approachable captain. Instead of having the “hard and cold” conversations he dealt with when he was a young player, he likes to be light-hearted and is more involved in bringing new players into the roster.
However, there should probably also be a transition to other leaders for Mexico. As important as Guardado is in the locker room, the same cannot be said for the field, where he is no longer a guaranteed starter. Other veterans such as Herrera and Hector Moreno are also on the verge of being replaced, if not already, in their starting positions.
Guillermo Ochoa is an undisputed member of the XI, and sounded almost like a politician on Tuesday, saying “at the hour when the Mexican must close ranks, we will all close ranks,” but his influence as a leader still belongs to the network, not to the field. player.
It’s unlikely that we’ll suddenly see the captain’s armband handed over to a younger player over the next two friendlies, but there should be ambition from level-headed or hard-working players like Edson Alvarez, Cesar Montes or Gutiérrez. could potentially be new guiding forces in the World Cup.
What about this fifth game?
It is a national obsession that is synonymous with the national team: fifth game.
Translated into “Game 5,” the phrase is indicative of Mexico’s desperate desire to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup – and thus play Game 5 – after having previously been knocked out of the round of 16 in seven tournaments in a row.
As impressive as it is that Mexico has always missed the group stage since the 1994 World Cup, the fact that the team suffered the same fate in seven tournaments seems to symbolize stagnation rather than growth in the structure of the national team.
At the moment, stagnation leading to regression seems more relevant for Three. Martino himself has admitted that he thinks his team played at their best in 2019/20 and not in the last year or so when they failed to win the CONCACAF Nations League and the Gold Cup, and they also failed four games in a row. never played. victory over American rivals.
There’s little time left for him to get Mexico back on track and possibly reach Game 5, but if there’s even the slightest chance of it happening, the convincing results against Peru and Colombia would be a huge step in the right direction.
Along the way, Alvarez spoke Tuesday about the Mexico team, visualizing it. fifth game.
“We always think about it, but it’s something we need to keep in mind, because if we go there [to Qatar] with that in our minds, it’s not good for us,” the midfielder said.
It will be the perfect balance between having a goal but not fixating on it, and in the process of battling for achievement, two wins will do wonders for building confidence ahead of the World Cup.
Jimenez spoke about fifth game also. He may have had the funniest response, and perhaps even the perfect mindset, when asked what was the most important factor in getting into Game 5: “Winning Game 4.”