• Friday Nov 10, 2017

    Guardado upbeat about Mexico’s World Cup chances

    Mexico midfielder Andres Guardado (pictured) answers questions at a press conference ahead of an international friendly against host Belgium to be played in November 10, 2017. (Photo: Mexsport)

    BRUSSELS, Belgium – Mexico midfielder Andres Guardado knows a thing or two about FIFA World Cups, having competed in South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014.

    So when the Real Betis standout says that this Tricolor team is capable of advancing past the Round of 16 for the first time since 1986, it is sure to create optimism.

    “Mexico’s ambition is clear,” said Guardado, who has competed in each of the last three World Cups. “In our country, it’s talked a lot about having a different World Cup and extinguishing the ghosts of the past, and not only get to a [quarterfinal], which is mentioned a lot in Mexico, but put our goals much higher. I think we are capable of that.

    “Once that fifth match [quarterfinal] is achieved, the ceiling does not exist. If we are capable of making that important next step, the objective would be the highest that exists. Hopefully we can be champions and make the final.”

    After finishing first in the CONCACAF Hexagonal for the first time since qualifying for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Mexico is looking to test itself against sturdy competition in the run-up to Russia 2018.

    It will start with friendlies at fellow 2018 World Cup qualifiers Belgium on Friday and Poland three days later.

    “Coach Juan Carlos Osorio looks for these types of opponents of great quality in order to see what level we are at and see how we can compete toe-to-toe with these great opponents,” Guardado concluded. “On Friday, we are going to impose our principal quality, which is to have the ball.”

    In seven matches against European opposition in 2017, Mexico 3W-1D-3L.

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