• Tuesday Nov 07, 2017

    European trip “a great opportunity” for Mexico

    Defender Cesar Montes (white jersey) is one of the rising young stars hoping to earn a spot on Mexico’s roster for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. (Photo: Mexsport)

    BRUSSELS, Belgium – Mexico’s preparations for the next FIFA World Cup take another step forward this week with what head coach Juan Carlos Osorio calls “a great opportunity.”

    The Tricolor will visit fellow Russia 2018 qualifiers Belgium (November 10) and Poland (November 13) for international friendlies.

    “It is going to be a great opportunity for Mexican football to compete with two national teams of such a high level,” said Osorio upon arriving in Brussels on Monday. “We’ve spent the last week analyzing. The fact that Belgium has a high percentage of its players in the six biggest clubs in the Premier League, and that all their players have the chance to compete internationally in the [UEFA] Champions League makes it a high level national team that is well coached.

    “Poland plays a more direct football, a different structure to what Belgium has been playing with and it is also going to be a very big test for us.”

    The two matches also represent an opportunity for several of Mexico’s youngsters to make a case for inclusion in the World Cup squad.

    Among the hopefuls are a pair of 20-year-old defenders, Cesar Montes and Edson Alvarez.

    “In my case, it is a chance to show myself,” said Monterrey’s Montes, who appeared in two CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers and two 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup matches. “The margin of error should be small and I have to take advantage of the chance that the coach gives me to win a spot for the World Cup.”

    Like Montes, Alvarez appeared in two WCQs for Mexico, plus five Gold Cup encounters. The Club America standout is intent on impressing Osorio.

    “Call-up to call-up, I look for my place in this national team,” Alvarez concluded. “I have the intention of continuing to show myself for what is coming.”

    In 23 matches this year, Mexico has a 14W-4D-5L record.

    ROSTER

    GOALKEEPERS: Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Rodolfo Cota (Guadalajara), Guillermo Ochoa (Standard Liege/Belgium)

    DEFENDERS: Nestor Araujo (Santos), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Jesus Gallardo (Pumas), Miguel Layun (Porto/Portugal), Cesar Montes (Monterrey), Hector Moreno (Roma/Italy), Diego Reyes (Porto/Portugal), Carlos Salcedo (Eintracht Frankfurt/Germany)

    MIDFIELDERS: Edson Alvarez (Club America), Giovani Dos Santos (LA Galaxy/USA), Jonathan Dos Santos (LA Galaxy/USA), Omar Govea (Royal Excel Mouscron/Belgium), Andres Guardado (Real Betis/Spain), Hector Herrera (Porto/Portugal)

    FORWARDS: Uriel Antuna (Groningen/Netherlands), Javier Aquino (Tigres), Jesus Corona (Porto/Portugal), Jurgen Damm (Tigres), Javier Hernandez (West Ham United/England), Raul Jimenez (Benfica/Portugal), Hirving Lozano (PSV Eindhoven/Netherlands), Oribe Peralta (Club America), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad/Spain)

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