After the end of Mexico’s last three-game friendly series in the United States, Sorting will return home with a 2-1 win over Nigeria, a 3-0 loss to Uruguay and a 0-0 draw with Ecuador. Over 270 minutes of play, manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino will have learned a lot about his team as they continue their preparations for the 2022 World Cup.
In an effort to highlight what worked, what didn’t and what stood out Sortinghere are The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of these games.
The Good: Guillermo Ochoa and Fernando Beltran
Death, taxes and Guillermo Ochoa prosper in net for Mexico. Although the Club America goalkeeper turns 37 in July, his reflexes continue to be at an elite level for the national team and depending on who you ask, they might even improve.
In Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Ecuador, Ochoa was flawless in keeping his South American opponents scoreless at Soldier Field in Chicago. It might not have been the busiest night in net, but it was yet another sign of his guaranteed status as a starter after previously earning five clean sheets in Sortingthe last five games of the World Cup qualifiers this year.
In midfield, Fernando Beltran, 24, is also to be highlighted. Of all the players involved in recent friendlies, Beltran has improved the most. As a starter in the 2-1 win over Nigeria and the 0-0 draw with Ecuador, and as a substitute in the 3-0 loss to Uruguay, the Chivas player was a crucial facilitator of the ball and excellent with his movement. forward.
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After Sunday’s draw, Martino spoke highly of the midfielder in an interview with TUDN. “He has very good qualities, he is brave,” said the Mexico coach. “I didn’t even think Fernando was going to play so many minutes, so many games and two as a starter.”
Heading into the three-game friendly series, Beltran was a backup option for Mexico at best. Now? A place in the starting XI in Qatar could be within reach.
The Bad: No one scores the goals…
It’s not just Raul Jimenez who’s struggling to find the target. While many Mexican fans pointed the finger at the Wolves striker, who failed to score for Sorting in his two recent appearances, there appears to be a deeper issue for Martino’s front line. Granted, Jimenez missed some good chances against Uruguay and Ecuador but the blame should also fall on the shoulders of those who failed to connect meaningfully with the striker in the box.
Alongside him, Alexis Vega was far too calm and winger Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona suffered an injury which forced an early substitution in the draw against Ecuador. In his place, Uriel Antuna didn’t offer much going forward. Captain and attacking midfielder Andres Guardado was not as influential as he should have been, and in support, the pressing full-backs were far from threatening in recent games.
In general and apart from the win over Nigeria, many Mexican players have really struggled for most of this year when it comes to creating chances and making decisions once on the opposing side of the pitch. In 10 games (in all competitions) in 2022, El Tri have scored just eight times. That said, Martino, who has now seen his side scoreless in three of their last four results, didn’t seem too anxious.
“I was worried when we lost to USA and Canada [in World Cup qualifying] in mid-November last year,” the coach said after the draw with Ecuador. All that’s happening now… is finding the best set-up and finding the variations we might have need in a World Cup.”
The Ugly: the return of anti-gay GK singing
It’s a problem off the pitch, but one that has plagued the national team for some time. After appearing to drift away from Mexico’s friendlies this year, the anti-gay chant made an unfortunate comeback in the latter stages of a scoreless draw with Ecuador. Frustrated by questionable refereeing and the absence of a penalty in favor of Mexico, tens of thousands of Soldier Field fans sang the chant in the 80th minute, forcing the game to be suspended for around five minutes.
Unfortunately, this re-emergence is not really surprising. Mexican football has struggled to reduce anti-gay chanting and frankly didn’t make much of an effort to do so until FIFA started handing out fines and stadium bans in recent years. Even with renewed public relations campaigns and national and international fan efforts, the chanting examples have had an impact on Mexico’s run to qualify for the 2022 World Cup as three of their games have been closed to the public. In Liga MX, it’s still not uncommon to hear chanting at male club level.
Sunday’s event is a reminder that Mexican soccer is far from done when it comes to coping with chanting. As the World Cup approaches, officials must continue to find a way to make it a thing of the past as opposed to something that sadly defines the national team entering the tournament.
Mexico’s turnaround will be short-lived, with their run in the 2022-23 CONCACAF Nations League starting at home to Suriname on June 11 and away to Jamaica on June 14. to the players on his team. If you read between the lines in the 16 that were dropped and the 23 who will remain for the League of Nationsit’s abundantly clear that many of the fringe, alternative and promising options that remain on the 23-man list – Marcelo Flores, Beltran and Julian Araujo, to name just three – are the ones who will fight for the FIFA Cup. world. tasks.
With several players looking to raise their profile ahead of the World Cup, Mexico will take to the field again this Saturday at the Estadio Corona de Santos Laguna.