Mexico's Hirving Lozano (pictured) has one goal in three appearances thus far at the Copa America Centenario. (Photo: Mexsport)
SANTA CLARA, California – With a victory over defending champion Chile on Saturday night at Levi’s Stadium, Mexico will become the second CONCACAF nation to reach the 2016 Copa America Centenario semifinals.
The United States edged past Ecuador 2-1 on Thursday to earn its second final-four appearance in the South American Championship. The Tricolor, however, have been to the semis on six previous occasions – but not since 2007 -- reaching the final twice.
Despite that history of success and an unbeaten start to the current edition, Mexico attacker Hirving Lozano knows progression will be no easy task.
“Every match is different,” said the 20-year-old, who won the 2016 Liga MX Clausura title with Pachuca. “Now we play a quarterfinal against Chile. I think it will be a very tense match. Hopefully, the result goes our way.”
Mexico posted a 1-0 win over Chile in a friendly on June 1. In their previous Copa America meeting, the sides tussled to a 3-3 draw last year.
“We must have a good game in order to compete with the fifth best national team in the world and the reigning champion of America,” Lozano continued. “There are many things to consider about the opponent, mainly where they are going to create numeric superiority.”
The 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Championship Golden Ball winner acknowledged that Chile will create scoring opportunities. The South Americans have seven goals in three games, including four in a win over Panama in their last Group D game on Tuesday.
“We have to limit their chances and focus on them and try to keep them occupied with our offensive play,” remarked Lozano. “Other things to take into account depend on whether they have a more offensive team in the middle third or if they decide to play with a man up top. We must be alert to their air game.”
Above all, Lozano believes the team that is most effective and productive in possession will advance.
“There are many things that will have to be taken care of, but we think the key will be who keeps the ball better, who is capable of having better numerical superiority,” he finished. “In general, I think it is going to be an extraordinary football match between two very good national teams. Surely, the difference will be small and it is going to be who is better on the day.”