Nov 3 (Reuters) – Pessimism surrounds Mexico as it prepares for the World Cup as qualifying and warm-up matches have been inconsistent.
Despite finishing second in the eight-team CONCACAF qualifiers behind Canada, Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino’s side were criticized for their performances, with their toothless attack a major concern.
Mexico, who lost last year’s Concacafion League and Gold Cup finals to the United States, have conceded 15 of their 15 matches in 2022 and averaged just one goal in friendlies.
Many ‘Al Trio’ fans and Mexican football media are still questioning their Argentinian coach, who is under immense pressure to turn their fortunes around.
But Martino believes the pessimism will motivate the team to prove their critics wrong.
“If someone is a pessimist, they shouldn’t change their opinion if this team does well at the World Cup,” Martino said in September.
“It might change their minds for a while. But of course, the atmosphere around the team is absolutely negative.
“I believe we will be stronger in the group. And if things continue, this negativity will make us stronger before the World Cup.”
Mexico are looking to end a 36-year wait for a place in the quarterfinals, having reached the last 16 in the previous seven times.
They are Argentina, They will face a tough test in Group C alongside Saudi Arabia and Poland.
Injuries are the latest problem to threaten Mexico’s campaign in Qatar, with several key players sidelined.
Martino said he would make a last-minute decision to include Raul Jimenez (groin) and Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona (broken leg), while Rogelio Funes Mori, Luis Romo and Jorge Sanchez are recovering and Hector Herrera remains a doubt.
With Mexico short on goals and options, all-time top scorer Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez could fill the void, but the LA Galaxy striker was dropped from their starting 31 despite his form this season. .
Hernandez has played in three World Cups and has not been on the roster since 2019.
winger Hirving Lozano; Alexis Vega and versatile midfielder Edson Alvarez will have to step up if Mexico is to impress in the finals.
Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru. Edited by Ken Ferris.
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