91013_isi_zavala_usamnttq081512072 Tony Quinn/isiphotos.com
The Foreign Press

Mexican Journo: "There's a High Probability of Defeat"

You know the U.S. angles, but what is the Mexican press saying about Tuesday's World Cup qualifier? We spoke with Carlos Barrón, sportswriter for Excélsior, the oldest Mexican newspaper still in print.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
September 10, 2013
1:51 PM
ASN: As usual there seems to be a lot of attention surrounding this match. How does the Mexican press view this contest? Where does it rate in importance?

CB: Of course. Not only in the press but also for the general public there's a very strong resentment for the United States. The wound was opened in 2002, the scar is still there, it hasn't closed easily. The qualifier with the United States always has a special tint to it.

In theory, the thought is that the Hex should be very easy. However, Mexico, every cycle they complicate it. It's like a self-destruction. What it all means is Mexico always has the figure of the U.S. as a powerful rival, as a rival that can raise the level of the Mexican team, a rival that can beat them. Right now, they'll look to win, but knowing that you always go into U.S. territory thinking of a defeat before. When you arrive here, you know there's a high probability of defeat.

ASN: Obviously, Chepo's firing is a huge story. What can U.S. fans expect from the new manager, Luis Fernando Tena?

CB: Well, the Chepo era started really well. But then Chepo had problems with arrogance, with being high-handed. On the inside, players didn't want to play for him. The technical staff didn't want to work with him. He had problems with Luis Fernando Tena, the current manager. Chepo ended up leaving because of his own ego.

For the match now, the expectations are still very low. Luis Fernando Tena is, we call him in Spanish a "bombero", a firefighter. He's only here to recue from an emergency and leave. He'll stay one or two matches. But at the World Cup, that is if Mexico goes, they'd have to have another manager. It'd be difficult for Luis Fernando Tena to continue in the cycle. He said that: He knows that the expectation for him is to manage this game, try to get something from it, and go forward. The only thing we can hope for tomorrow is a change in the mentality.

ASN: But do you think we'll see any lineup changes from Chepo's team in Honduras? Maybe Maza Rodriguez in for Diego Reyes or Chicharito starting the match?

CB: I think we'll see minimal changes, but I think they'll be very basic. I don't believe Chicharito will start because of his hamstring problem and his lack of chances at Manchester United. Oribe Peralta is in much better form. Where we might see change is Fernando Arce might be replaced by [Jesus] Zavala in midfield. He's another player who could come in for Gerardo Torrado [who is suspended because of yellow card accumulation]. Andres Guardado could start in place of Chaco [Gimenez], which isn't how they lined up at the Azteca. Guardado is a player who is better at recovering the ball when not attacking. Only one forward because that's pretty much what Mexico has to do right now.

The truth is Mexico comes into this match expected to lose. This is the difficulty.

ASN: What's something U.S. fans don't know about the Mexican national team but should?

CB: Well, the Mexican team understands adversity and can surprise people. When all predictions indicate that Mexico is the victim or the lower rival, it can give a surprise. But when the predictions are in their favor, when Mexico looks like a good, important team, that's when it's a disaster.

Jon Arnold is an ASN contributing editor. Follow him on Twitter.

Post a comment