The goal cannot become another rival for the Mexican National Team, not when it needs it in quantities to beat Saudi Arabia and overcome the group stage of the World Cup in Qatar. The Tricolor, Tunisia and Uruguay are the teams that have not scored a goal in their first two matches. In addition, it is the only Concacaf Selection in zeros.
It is not enough to win, because Mexico also depends on the score in the match between Poland and Argentina to advance. The Round of 16 seems a complicated issue today, when the Tricolor has qualified for this instance since the 1994 World Cup. If they are denied to the National Team, the sadness of the 1978 World Cup in Argentina will be remembered. That time, the team lost 3-1 against Tunisia, 6-0 against West Germany and 3-1 against Poland. The group phase was everything and goodbye.
Whose responsibility is the goal?
“Right now it’s more important because we need goals tomorrow (against Saudi Arabia). They are situations with different characteristics. Some of our forwards arrived with physical problems, but I am convinced that, just as defensive problems are not exclusive to defenders, attacking and goal problems are not exclusive to forwards. With Paraguay we reached the quarterfinals and we only scored two goals and the goals were made by midfielders. What happens at both ends of the pitch is up to the whole team.”
The last goal crisis of the Tricolor in a World Cup dates from Chile 1962, it did not exceed the first round and left the score at zero against Brazil and Spain.
Today, in Qatar, against Poland and Argentina, he has generated only five goal opportunities.
How to solve the goal problem?
“Unfold more. That the midfielders get up, that the full-backs go to the front, something that was planned against Argentina, having the two fast forwards on the inside, and that the full-backs go to the front on the outside. Tomorrow we need long sides, so that the attacks have more players in the definition zone. It is a team that has opted to score goals in its form of play”, explained El Tata in Qatar.
According to data from Stats Bomb, an advanced data and soccer analysis consultancy, Mexico had a lot of balls against Poland but failed to penetrate the Polish defense. The average quality of their shots was one of the lowest in the tournament and apart from Iran, Mexico is the team that has relied the most on centers to try to get the ball to the area.
The defensive approach against Argentina and the changes in the second half already with the score against, were a controversial issue towards the decision made by Gerardo Martino. Against Saudi Arabia he does not intend to use something new.
“Anything we see tomorrow has to do with the formation of the team, which may not have been seen (before) in a friendly or official match against Argentina, we used a form of play that we had already used in Canada. What we do against Arabia we have already prepared and trained. We are not going to use schemes for which the players do not have the tools to carry them out.
Saudi Arabia is the 50th team in the FIFA ranking, they have been led by French coach Hervé Renard since July 2019. The number 10 Salem Al-Dawsari has proven to be the offensive leader, scoring twice against Argentina. A simple win secures their place in the knockout phase no matter what happens in the other match (Poland vs Argentina).
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