Big questions ahead of Mexico’s pre-World Cup friendlies

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Just two months separate the Mexico men’s national team from their World Cup group stage opener against Poland on November 22. Before traveling to Qatar, L dry California has two upcoming friendlies against Peru (Sept. 24) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and against Colombia (Sept. 27) at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

– World Cup bracket and tournament schedule

Leading up to the games, there are few signs of the rust that has made Mexico’s World Cup qualifiers and previous friendlies a tough test for manager Gerardo “Tada” Martino and his roster. During a news conference on Tuesday, injury concerns, fan discontent and leadership issues surrounded a team that had won one of its last five.

Mexico are far from their best and here are some of the questions that will continue to hang over them ahead of the World Cup, with hope that they will gain some much-needed confidence this month.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, and more (US)

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Will ill-timed injuries haunt Mexico?

Ideally, Martino will have his best players available for the upcoming friendlies as they prepare for the World Cup. Instead, he now has to continue his foundation without his top names.

Martino said star striker Raul Jimenez is “not likely” to play this week due to injury. Martino made no guarantees that the Wolverhampton Wanderers frontman would also be at the World Cup, saying: “I never thought we would be in this position. … I have to think about it a lot.”

While in the squad, Jimenez has been involved in recovery training with Ajax Amsterdam’s Jorge Sanchez and Monterrey duo Rogelio Funes Mori and Luis Romo, who are set to leave camp ahead of the game against Colombia. Houston Dynamo FC midfielder Hector Herrera is also a doubt and is currently being evaluated by the medical team.

With Sevilla’s Jesus “Decatito” Corona suffering a serious leg injury in August that could rule him out of the World Cup — although Martino indicated he would be re-examined in early October — Mexico now suddenly have a third of their best XI not fully fit.

Now the next two games will be crucial in finding potential replacements. Backups like Henry Martin, Santiago Gimenez, Diego Lines, Orbelin Pineda, Eric Gutierrez, Luis Chavez, Kevin Alvarez and others should all get opportunities to claim minutes and push past injury concerns. If solutions don’t arise, doubt all around L dry It will only get stronger before the World Cup.


Is there a L dry A leadership vacuum?

When things have been tough for Mexico over the last year or so, many fans and media have yearned for old-school leaders like the eccentrically brash Cuauhtemoc Blanco or the more determined and determined Rafael Marquez.

The lack of strong-willed guidance has become a talking point, but is it valid?

“They say there are no leaders in the national team, that’s not true, they say this because they are looking for a leader from the past: the shy one, the curmudgeon, the demonstrator, that has changed,” said captain Andres. Guardado said on Tuesday that there were no names to command.

Guardado then made a good point that he wants to be a more open and approachable captain. Rather than exhibiting the “hard and cold” conversations he dealt with as a younger player, he prefers to be lighter and more involved in transitioning new players into the team.

That said, Mexico should also have a transition to different leaders. As important as Guardado is in the locker room, the same cannot be said on the pitch where he is no longer a guaranteed member of the starting XI. 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 on Tuesday he sounds like a politician, declaring that “when a Mexican has to close ranks, we all close ranks,” but his influence as a leader remains. net and not as a fielder.

It’s unlikely we’ll suddenly see a younger name handing over the captain’s reins in the next couple of friendlies, but an equal or hard-working player like Edson Alvarez, Cesar Montes or Gutierrez should have an ambition. Could be the new guiding force for the World Cup.


And what about it Quinto Partido?

It is a national obsession synonymous with the national team: The Quinto Partido.

Translated as “the fifth game,” the proverb refers to Mexico’s desperate desire to qualify for the World Cup quarterfinals — thereby playing a fifth game — after seven consecutive round-of-16 exits.

As impressive as it is that Mexico has never made it past the group stage since the 1994 World Cup, the fact that the team has endured a similar fate in seven matches suggests stagnation, not growth, for the national team structure.

At this point, stagnation leading to regression seems more appropriate L dry. Martino admitted that his team played well until 2019-20, not the last year or so — in which they failed to win the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup. victory over their American rivals.

He ran out of time to lead Mexico back on track and reach that fifth game.

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Herc Gomes can’t hide his love for the new Mexico away kit and training jacket.

On the way to doing so, Alvarez opened up about his display of Mexico’s team on Tuesday Quinto Partido.

“We always think about it, but it’s something we have to keep quiet in our heads because if we get there [to Qatar] With that in mind, it’s not good for us,” the midfielder said.

It will be a fine balance between setting a target but not over-targeting, and in the process of fighting for the record, a couple of wins will do wonders for building confidence ahead of the World Cup.

Jimenez spoke about Quinto Partido as well as When asked what the most important factor in getting to Game Five was, “Winning Game Four,” he had a funny answer, and perhaps the right mindset.

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