Mexico vs. Ivory Coast: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview
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Mexico and Ivory Coast head to New Jersey Wednesday night for a high-profile friendly.
This match features an intriguing combination of countries with somewhat high profiles who have failed to live up to expectations in international tournaments.
Many were looking at Ivory Coast back at the 2010 World Cup—as the best African team, the Elephants were poised to really make a name for themselves. However, they failed to get out of the group stage. Then came the disappointments at back-to-back African Cups of Nations.
For Mexico, it's been downhill ever since the 2012 Olympics. El Tri have struggled in 2014 World Cup qualification and looked only pedestrian in both the 2013 Confederations Cup and Gold Cup. If they weren't only a year out from the World Cup, Mexico probably would have sacked Jose Manuel de la Torre by now.
Both countries will be looking to iron out their issues prior to heading for Brazil. Although these friendlies don't count for anything, they're a great time for managers to try some new things and integrate some new players into the squad.
Here's a quick preview for this international friendly Wednesday night.
When: Wednesday, August 14 at 9 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Live Stream: ESPN3
Mexico Player to Watch: Marco Fabian
The Mexico attack has been a bit of a mess lately. At the Confederations Cup, El Tri failed to put much together and were afraid to take any chances. With a much-changed squad at the Gold Cup, it was more of the same.
One attacker who really managed to help himself in the States was Marco Fabian. The 24-year-old midfielder had three goals in five matches. He was one of the few players who actually looked competent on the ball.
Fabian has yet to assert himself with the senior team, only making seven appearances in competitive matches. This friendly is a great opportunity for him to make an impression on Jose Manuel de la Torre.
Given El Tri's problems scoring, having Fabian could be the much-needed injection the team needs as it tries to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
Ivory Coast Player to Watch: Wilfried Bony
Sabri Lamouchi could very well opt to start Didier Drogba to start the match. Drogba remains a skilled striker, even at 35 years old. Given this is a friendly, you're likely to see Wilfried Bony eventually come on for Drogba and given significant playing time.
Bony lit up the Eredivisie last season, leading the league with 31 goals. Given the reputation for the Dutch first division, you may look at his goals total with a bit of skepticism.
Now that Bony has moved to Swansea City, you'll get a much better picture of how good he really is.
The 24-year-old was a tremendous target man for Vitesse last year. He was a tremendous finisher and was able to hold up the ball and wait for his teammates to get into position to score.
If you have yet to see Bony, this is a great opportunity to see what kind of talent he is. Then you can tell all of your friends that you aren't surprised at all that Bony has scored 15 goals in his first Premier League season.
Given that nothing Jose Manuel de la Torre has tried has brought much success, it's unlikely Mexico will be able to get much going against Ivory Coast. You can expect another fragmented performance from Mexico. Selecting Marco Fabian would be a nice step, and hopefully it get the attack going a bit more.
El Tri will likely lose the battle in midfield, though.
Ivory Coast have a strong group of central midfielders. Didier Zokora is the anchor who sits in front of the back four, while Yaya Toure and Cheick Tiote are the box-to-box midfielders who can make forward runs.
Up top, Sabri Lamouchi can go with the likes of Gervinho, Wilfried Bony, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Seydou Doumbia.
Ivory Coast will win this rather easily.
Ivory Coast 3, Mexico 1
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