Filed under: CONCACAF, International Football | Tags: CONCACAF Qualifying, Mexico, World Cup 2014, World Cup Qualifying
On Friday Mexico will finally begin their qualification process for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. They are in Group B, along with Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guyana. El Tri should have no problems winning this group even though every road game in the CONCACAF region can be considered a tricky tie.
Up first for El Tri is Guyana, a team that is currently ranked 99th in the FIFA world rankings. This should be as straight forward a game as they come for Mexico because it is being played at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. It is a rare occurrence for Mexico to do anything but win in the raucous Azteca. If El Tri were to drop any points here against Guyana then surely that would be considered a major upset.
Mexico will be very offensive for this game with Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez deployed up front with Giovani dos Santos playing just behind him and Andres Guardado and Pablo Barrera running up and down the wings. For some reason Giovani’s form for the national team is much better than his form for his European club team. He will be the maestro in midfield looking to feed Chicharito, who has already scored 25 goals in only 36 appearances for El Tri. Guardado will hug the left touch line while Barrera will hug the right. They are excellent wingers that love to run past defenders.
Mexico will probably field two defensive midfielders to shield the back four, and if the defensive unit plays the way they did against Mexico then they should have a walk in the park against Guyana. The fullbacks won’t just stay at home as they will look to join in the attack as much as possible.
Final Score- Mexico 4-0 Guyana
El Tri’s next game will provide a much sterner test as they travel to San Salvador to play El Salvador at the Estadio Cuscatlan. Like I said before, road trips in CONCACAF can be tough because the fields can be shoddy and the native crowds very loud and hostile. La Selecta are currently enjoying their highest ever FIFA ranking at 49 and FIFA also reckon that they are currently the 3rd best team in CONCACAF (I don’t hold think too much of FIFA rankings, I just like throwing out the numbers). El Salvador hasn’t qualified for a World Cup since 1982, and unfortunately that is a trend that I see continuing.
I don’t expect Mexico to change their formation, but they may play a little bit on the cautious side and not push forward as much as if they were at home. The two wingers may push inside just a tad and Giovani may drop back in order to pack the midfield. Obviously they will want all three points, but if push comes to shove I am sure they would gladly leave with a draw and a point. Honestly, though, I can’t see El Tri leaving San Salvador with anything but a convincing win.
Final Score- El Salvador 1- 3 Mexico
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