Mexican national team players enter the training field on October 8, 2013. (Photo: Mexsport)
MEXICO CITY – Mexico is back in camp and preparing for its next CONCACAF Hexagonal match against visiting Panama on Friday. Both are level on eight points in fourth place, but the Panamanians have the tie-breaker advantage by virtue of scoring more goals.
Third-place Honduras has 11 points, making the Mexico-Panama encounter as close to “must win” as possible, especially as it pertains to securing the third and last automatic qualifying place from the confederation. New Zealand awaits the fourth-place finisher in an Intercontinental Playoff.
The encounter’s importance has been appropriately reflected in the Mexican approach, which is rooted in hard work, encircled by composure and focus.
From the Mexican Football Federation’s’ Center of High Performance, head coach Víctor Manuel Vucetich spoke about the current state of his squad.
“The team is calm, I don’t see them as being restless or desperate to play, our time at work has been very good,” said Vucetich. “For me, the mood has been magnificent in what they have been doing, leading with communication, the way in which they have worked, there is awareness, responsibility, professionalism above all, a lot of togetherness.”
The game against the Canaleros will be Mexico’s first under Vucetich. The three-time winner of the CONCACAF Champions League says that his selection for Friday will be a mix of veterans and players in good form.
“I am considering everything, experience is a factor, but they have to be in form and to be able to respond to the demands of what game-day is going to be,” he explained.
Vucetich also lauded the growth of Panamanian football and the national team’s improvement – Panama defeated Mexico twice in this year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
“Without a doubt Panama has grown in regards to football, they have players who play in different places and this helps them grow, nevertheless, we have players on the same level and we have plenty of confidence to go out and get the win on Friday,” declared the 58-year-old.
A win is something both teams need to maintain a reasonable hope of keeping their Brazilian dream alive.