Toothless attack a concern for pessimistic Mexico at World Cup

Nov 3 (Reuters) – Disappointment grips Mexico as they prepare for the World Cup in Qatar after a lackluster qualifying and warm-up matches.

Despite finishing second in the eight-team CONCACAF qualifiers behind Canada, the performance was criticized by Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, with their toothless attack a major concern.

Mexico, who lost to the United States in the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup finals last year, have averaged one goal per game in their 15 competitive matches and friendlies in 2022.

El Tri fans and a large section of the Mexican football media continue to question their Argentinian coach, who is under immense pressure to turn his fortunes around.

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But Martino believes that disappointment will only motivate the team to prove the critics wrong.

“If someone is disappointed, he shouldn’t change his opinion if this team does well in the World Cup,” Martino said in September.

“Maybe they will change their mind briefly. But, yes, the atmosphere around the team is absolutely desperate.

“I believe it will strengthen the group internally. And the way things are going, this disappointment will only make us stronger before the World Cup.”

Mexico will be looking to end a 36-year wait for a place in the quarterfinals after reaching the last 16 in each of the past seven editions.

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They face a tough test in Group C, where they are paired with Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Poland.

Injury concerns

Injuries are the latest problem to threaten Mexico’s campaign in Qatar, with several key players sidelined.

Martino has said he will make a last-minute decision on the inclusion of Raul Jimenez (groin) and Jesus ‘Ticatito’ Corona (fractured fibula), while Rogelio Funes Mori, Luis Romo and Jorge Sanchez recover. And Hector Herrera has doubts.

With Mexico desperate for goals and short of options, all-time top scorer Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez could have filled the gap but the LA Galaxy forward was left out of the starting 31-man squad despite his good form this season. kept .

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Hernandez, who played in three World Cups, has not made the squad since 2019.

Winger Herring Lozano, forward Alexis Vega and versatile midfielder Edson Alvarez will have to step up if Mexico are to spring a surprise run to the finals.

Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Edited by Ken Ferris

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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