Mexico (pictured) will look to win a second straight CONCACAF Men's Olympic Championship title on October 13, 2015, when it takes on Honduras in Sandy, Utah. (Photo: Mexsport)
SANDY, Utah – Mexico will look to dispel the notion that repeating as champion is one of the most difficult things to do in sport, when it faces Honduras in the 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship final on Tuesday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
After defeating Canada, 2-0, in the semifinals Saturday, the under-23 Tricolor will defend its Olympic title next year in Rio de Janeiro. First, though, comes the matter of lifting the confederation trophy once again.
"It will be a good match,” said head coach Raul Gutierrez, who guided Mexico to the FIFA U-17 World Cup crown in 2011. “I think now the perspective changes to some degree. It’s no longer an end, but the tension generated in this format is, on occasion, not understood. The final is to be enjoyed, seeking to win as we always thought, and it will be a more complicated opponent.”
This will be the second straight meeting between Mexico and Honduras in the CONCACAF U-23 decider. Nearly four years ago, the Mexicans triumphed 2-1 after extra time for its fifth crown in the competition.
"The achievement of this team qualifying for the Olympics is for many people something that could be very simple, but it is not. It has complexity,” Gutierrez continued. “We are very proud to have achieved this and right now it is time to rest and to prepare.”
The CONCACAF competition is only the first step on the road toward retaining the Olympic gold medal earned in London three years ago. Gutierrez is leaving the door open for any player he believes that can contribute to the continued effort.
"It's work, such as the work that combines with the talent and dedication positioning these guys in this tournament,” the 48-year-old finished. “And not only in this, because today we speak of a group of players, but we have others in Mexico who belonged to the process and were part of it for a moment. Now that the door to the Olympic Games is open, everybody continues to compete and, hopefully, fight for a place for Rio 2016.”
Let the games begin.