Mexico vs. Guyana: 6 Things We Learned About El Tri World Cup Chances
The Mexican national team started the road to Brazil 2014 on Friday. El Tri played at Estadio Azteca against a squad that has never won a major event but that managed to complicate the Mexican group.
As expected, Guyana lost. But no one thought the Golden Jaguars could fight the way they did, resulting in a bittersweet finish.
Mexico was expected to trash the Caribbean squad, which sits at 99 in the FIFA ranking. Instead they showed a lot of inconsistency and doubt.
What did we learn from the match it and how can it help us understand what is to come?
Changing the Formation Is Not a Very Good Idea
José Manuel Chepo de la Torre decided to make some changes in the lineup. It’s true that he was going to make them at some point to have alternatives, so it seemed the match against Guyana was the right time to make them.
The Mexican manager didn't think it would be the worst decision. For the first time since he took over El Tri, de la Torre decided to team up Aldo de Nigris and Javier Hernández.
The pair couldn't do much.
Instead of letting them both shine at different times, Chepo went all in, sending all the attacking force, which didn't help.
The midfield was a mess; Mexico lost possession continuously and could not control the ball. Salcido and Zavala didn’t sync with dos Santos and Barrera, so there was a missing link there.
Not All the Players Deserve to Start
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Pablo Barrera was once a winger who could unbalance and touch with fineness, but not anymore.
For some reason, de la Torre keeps sending him in from the start. Angel Reyna and Gerardo Lugo have proven to be in better shape and can deliver the same results as Barrera did back in South Africa 2010 and the 2011 Gold Cup.
It's time for the coach to start thinking straight and realize that these are not friendly matches anymore.
Continuity Is a Key Factor
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Giovani dos Santos is the kind of player that can change a game in the blink of an eye. He's fast, skillful and strong, but he has one little problem: he can't keep it up for 90 minutes.
This has a lot to do with Giovani not playing on a regular basis with his club. The best thing that can happen to the Mexican midfielder is to find a team that allows him to get back on track and have continuity.
If he manages to do so, we'll see a tougher dos Santos in the World Cup. Otherwise, he'll start looking a lot like Barrera.
Andrés Guardado Keeps Making the Difference
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When the sky is falling, Andrés Guardado is there. The Valencia midfielder not only attacks, he knows how to defend and create plays that turn into real opportunities.
Guardado keeps showing his skills and powerful long distance shots, but he needs more support to make all his effort worth while.
He was by far the best player of the El Tri against Guyana. Andrés ventured to make something different.
El Tri Relies Too Much on Carlos Salcido
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Don't get me wrong, he is a fantastic player and probably will travel to Brazil. The thing is, Mexico needs to find a replacement soon.
At 32, Salcido is not getting any younger. Although he has showcased an impressive shape and sense of leadership, he needs to pass the baton.
Jorge Torres Nilo seems like the obvious choice, but José Manuel de la Torre hasn't made up his mind yet.
Mexico Can Underestimate Rivals
If Mexico keeps playing this way, the road to Brazil 2014 won't be easy. They will advance to the fourth round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification, but the issue here is how will they do it.
If they keep underestimating their rivals, they will complicate the results. Against Guyana, they were pushing too much, resulting in a disorganized team.
Once again, El Tri played according to the squad they had in front. If they manage to play to their best, no matter the opponent, we will see a difference.
It's the right time to change this. The qualification stage has just started for them, now is the time the team needs to unite and keep it cool to have a better performance at the World Cup.