Mexico's Angel Zaldivar (right) gets instruction from head coach Juan Carlos Osorio during a World Cup qualifier against visiting Honduras on September 7, 2016, in Mexico City. (Photo: Mexsport)
MEXICO CITY – In its last match of fourth-round qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Mexico dropped points for the first time during the campaign in a scoreless draw with visiting Honduras on Tuesday.
Regardless, the Tricolor finished comfortably atop the Group A play table with a 5W-1D-0L record, outdoing the second-place Hondurans (2-2-2, 8) by eight points.
Head coach Juan Carlos Osorio said that his team could have been better in the offensive third, after it was shutout for the time in six WCQ outings.
“We knew it was going to be difficult, with all due respect to our players, against such a defensive system and that we assumed risk with their quick play in transition,” the 55-year-old remarked in the post-match press conference. “Considering the opponent, the strategy coming in was to play a defensively attacking transition, unlike the previous games.
“Comparing it with international football, when a team plays like that, it is going to risk a transition and it is impossible not to lose the ball. The first half was acceptable and in the second we failed on some clear chances.”
The Honduras encounter also served as an occasion for Osorio to give minutes to some players not featuring in Friday’s 3-1 win over El Salvador, including Hirving Lozano, Orbelin Pineda and Angel Zaldivar.
“I think that the three main objectives of rotation are opportunity and that we are giving it to the Mexican players,” the Colombian outlined in stressing the importance of squad rotation. “The other is to consolidate and we are trying to do that. We will continue trying to select in the best way and to give chances to all the Mexican players who, in our opinion, meet the necessary conditions to be on the national team.”