Mexico trains in New Zealand prior to the second leg of the CONCACAF/Oceania playoff for a place at Brazil 2014. (Photo: Mexsport)
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Mexico arrived in New Zealand for the second leg of its CONCACAF/Oceania playoff against the host in a confident mood, looking to build upon its 5-1 win in the series opener last Wednesday.
The CONCACAF power needs only a draw on Wednesday at Westpac Stadium to earn a ticket to its sixth straight World Cup finals, but if its training session was anything to go by, another resounding victory is the primary objective.
On Sunday, the players addressed the media, where Leon midfielder Carlos Peña emphasized the importance of playing at top speed in the return leg.
“We are continuing on the same path,” said Peña. “There is a lot of confidence within the group and we’ve come to have a good game, to win, not to try to draw nor win 1-0. Thus, the people are aware that we are going to give our best effort. I repeat that we are going for the win against New Zealand. We want to return to Mexico with a World Cup ticket.”
Between Mexico City and Wellington there is a time difference of 19 hours and that fact has been mentioned by observers as being a possible factor in the encounter. Leon’s Luis Montes, though, does not foresee any problem with fatigue.
“We are already adapted,” said the midfielder. “It’s still a bit difficult with our training in the afternoons, but as the days elapse I don’t doubt that we will be fine to face the match against the Oceanians.”
Additionally, Mexico is aware of the need to come out with a strong mindset and not conceded any advantage to a side that was the only participant in the 2010 FIFA World Cup not to lose a game. to the New Zealanders, as was noted by Club América center back Francisco Rodríguez.
“The key is not to relax,” noted Club America central defender Francisco Rodriguez. “The mantra will be to go forward and come out aggressive in the same way that we came out at home in the last match in order to finish off the series.”
And, hopefully, start preparations for Brazil 2014.