DOHA (AP) — Mexico are eagerly awaiting their fifth game in Qatar. For the first time since 1978, how about surviving the group stage to avoid going home after the group stage at the World Cup?
The Mexican is on the edge of a precipice as he has yet to find a goal. The lack of goals has been a burden since the beginning of the year and Argentinian coach Gerardo Martino has yet to find a solution.RELATED
An experienced coach who has led both his national team and Barcelona, Martino has been hired as a differentiator to lead Mexico’s leaders to the quarterfinals for the first time since the host country in 1986.
Instead, the lack of goals prompted Mexico to a final-round victory over the Arabs, hoping for help to maintain their seven-World Cup winning streak by advancing to the second phase.
“It’s possible, but we have to try,” said Martino. “Arabia need to score goals and we have to score goals.
Mexico will face Saudi Arabia on the final day of Group C, aiming to win and Poland to defeat Argentina. The Mexicans also managed to win a landslide victory and a draw between the Poles and the Argentines.
El Tori, using line 5 for the first time in an official tournament since Martino took the reins, kept a close eye on Lionel Messi and cut off the Argentine attacking circuit for the first 60 minutes.
Martino has tested the formation in recent friendlies against Uruguay, Iraq and Paraguay with little success. The coaches were rookie Kevin Alvarez on the right, Nestor Araujo, César Montes and Héctor Moreno as centre-backs and Jesús Gallardo on the left.
Martino said, “We failed in the first goal because of a very small thing. Like I said yesterday, five minutes of carelessness and Messi hurt you.”
Offense-suffering Mexicans are nothing new and Martino tried a new recipe against Argentina to rectify that, but the result remains the same.
Mexico played without a nominal nine, leaving the weight of the offense to Herving Lozano, but it was clear that “Chucky” needed a partner in the area.
“We didn’t play less, but we lost consistency in front of goal,” admitted Martino.
Mexico, who closed out the CONCACAF qualifiers with four goals in their most recent match, kept a clean sheet in 384 minutes and failed to find the net in four consecutive World Cup games.
Mexico’s last goal at the World Cup was scored by Javier Hernandez against South Korea in the second leg of the 2018 Russia Games.
‘Chicharito’ Hernández has been demoted to Martino since 2019 due to poor discipline. But Martino has also dropped the Europa League’s top scorer, Feyenoord’s Santiago Jimenez, from the roster.
Raúl Jiménez, Henry Martín, and Rogelio Funes Mori are other actors in Qatar, but the general impression is that they do not offer a solution.
Andrés Guardado was able to play 40 minutes in his fifth World Cup, but was sidelined with a right thigh injury.
The ‘Little Prince’ left the field at Lusail Stadium in visible pain and was immediately escorted by physical trainer Carlos Pecanja.
The Mexican team has yet to release a medical report on the steering wheel.
The World Cup in Qatar is the first ever competition in which Mexico has been left blank for the first two games.
For the first time in 17 World Cup appearances, El Toli have not scored a single goal without scoring against Saudi Arabia.
Their worst performances so far were England in 1966 and Sweden in 1958, scoring just one goal. In both tournaments the Mexican scored the only goal in the first game.
Mexico will look to extend their streak of appearances in the second phase of the World Cup to eight games next Wednesday against the Arabs.
If Mexico doesn’t win, it will be the first time they have been eliminated in the first round since Argentina in 1978, and they will lose in a group that includes West Germany, Poland and Tunisia.