Mexico’s aging squad prepare for World Cup opener against Poland

0
16


Doha, Qatar – What do Mexicans do andres guardado And guillermo ochoa football giants are common Cristiano Ronaldo And Lionel Messi,

Like Ballon d’Or winners, el triThe UK legend is now part of an incredibly exclusive selection of players who have been called up to five World Cups – a record that has yet to be broken.

Along with Ronaldo and Messi, Guardado and Ochoa join the likes of Germany’s Lothar Matthäus, Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon and Mexican icons Rafael Márquez and Antonio Carbajal, who have featured in all five tournaments. For both Guardado and Ochoa, it’s been a surprising stretch that began with the 2006 World Cup.

, FIFA World Cup 2022: Schedule, Features, How to Watch

but as Mexico There is more ambiguity from fans and the media than enthusiasm about the two veterans and several other members of Mexico’s old guard, set to begin their World Cup campaign in Qatar on Tuesday.

After coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino’s final World Cup roster was announced earlier this month – with an average age of 28.5 – when there was not a single player under the age of 23, eyebrows were raised, with notable exclusions such as feyenoord‘s Santiago Gimenez And Braga‘s diego lenez,

There is no shortage of experience in the Mexican squad, but there are also concerns about whether some players may be at the peak of their abilities. With just three wins in their last nine games in all competitions, Mexico’s form has many fans and pundits wondering how resilient this team will be in Qatar.

Opener against Mexico a day before the tournament polandMartino backed up his critical group of players.

“As I’ve always said, this national team, especially in recent times, it’s very strong,” the coach said during Monday’s pre-game news conference. “Since the summer until now, the team has started to play really well, but in general the results haven’t come yet.”

what results will come out in the end al triFavors during the group stage of the World Cup?

Although Ochoa was seen spending more time on Monday Criticism of coverage from the Mexican media Instead of discussing Tuesday’s game against Poland, the goalkeeper recently attempted to flip the script on one of the talking points el tri Not having enough youth energy in the squad.

“There are many young [in our squad] He doesn’t have World Cup experience,” Ochoa said on Monday. “The excitement of that first game, that first World Cup, will always be there.”

There may be a similar level of eagerness for Guardado, 36, Mexico’s new all-time leader (178 caps), who has said this will be his last World Cup. called it his “last dance”.

“I will play in the World Cup and [then] My involvement with the national team will end, this is my last dream,” the Mexico captain told Rondo Magazine earlier this year. “This is the last chance to achieve something for the national team.”

Drive and motivation will come from Guardado, Ochoa and several other veterans who have been key players in Martino’s process, but time will tell whether it is the right mix of characters for this World Cup.

For what it’s worth, the focus has been on the Giants in the past for Martino. At the 2010 World Cup, Argentina’s manager took on the underdog paraguay Teams with the same average age (28.1) as Mexico in 2022 (28.5) reach the quarterfinals of the tournament. Twelve years later, can Martino create the magic once again?

On Tuesday, the first major test for their roster will be against Poland, a side that will likely be battling al tri for the second and last place in the knockout round from Group C, with Argentina Expected Group-Group Winner.

Traditionally, Mexico have had the more notable World Cup appearances since 1994 with their consecutive qualification to the knockout rounds in seven consecutive appearances – compared to just three group stage exits for Poland during the same run – but Manager Czeslaw Michniewicz will not accept the notion that Mexico will be favorites in Tuesday’s match at Stadium 974.

“We don’t look at Mexico that way – we’re all at the World Cup,” the Poland coach said at Monday’s press conference. “We give no rank to our opponents.”

goalkeeper wojciech szczesny also agree with this view al tri He is not above them.

“I think the Mexican team is at the same level as us,” said juventus Goalkeeper. “It’s going to be an interesting game.”

Let’s say Argentina won’t have much trouble in Group C and that too Saudi Arab Should any upsets manage, the three points available on Tuesday will greatly increase either Mexico’s or Poland’s chances of making it to the round of 16.

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

If al tri Able to get the three points, it could be enough for a complete 180-degree turn on the negative spotlight cast on Martino and his aging team. Relying on their veterans on the biggest stage of the game will once again prove to be the driving force behind success.

And yet if Mexico loses, or perhaps even draws, it would be hard not to characterize Martino’s roster selection as a risky gambit. In a team that seems to need young replacements and a generational change, there will be a sense of painful regression during the World Cup.

For the time being, Ochoa and Guardado will share the World Cup record for most World Cup call-ups, but if things don’t work out in their favor, they could be headed back home early and potentially. Disappointing exit from the World Cup.





Source link