Ambitious Mexico want more
Mexico may have already qualified for the World Cup but that doesn’t mean they’ll be taking their foot off the gas in their final two qualification fixtures.
El Tri face Trinidad & Tobago in San Luis Potosí on Friday before travelling to Honduras four days later. Both opponents are currently propping up the CONCACAF standings but Juan Carlos Osorio has picked a strong Mexican squad with the aim of winning both games and finishing qualification unbeaten and with 24 points.
Should they manage it, it’ll be a far cry from their qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup (when they ended up needing to overcome New Zealand in a play-off) and would surpass their previous best total of 22 points achieved ahead of the 2006 World Cup.
Friday’s opponents Trinidad & Tobago – who sit rock bottom of the group and cannot qualify having won one and lost the other seven of their qualifiers thus far – aren’t expected to pose much of a threat.
Honduras, however, do still have an outside chance of booking their place at Russia 2018 and will almost certainly need a positive result against Mexico if they’re to do it.
“Games in Honduras are always difficult,” Mexico winger Elías Hernández told the media on Monday.
“They are going to come out and give 100 percent and we’ll have to give even more.
“The team can’t relax. We are very committed and we want to finish in first place.
“It is very important to get six points.”
Friday’s match at San Luis’ Estadio Alfonso Lastras will be the first time El Tri have played a competitive fixture outside Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca since 2012.
For many of the squad, it will also be the first time they’ve been back in their homeland since the devastating earthquake which claimed over 360 lives last month.
“Being far away with Mexico going through such a tragedy is very difficult,” said PSV Eindhoven’s Hirving Lozano.
“I’m happy to see how Mexicans help each other.”