Mexico to make waves
Chicharito says they’re out to beat young Germans for a spot in the final
MEXICO record scorer Javier Hernandez, said yesterday the Gold Cup holders are aiming for a place in the Confederations Cup final despite world champions Germany blocking their path in the last four.
“We are here to win the tournament,” the Bayer Leverkusen forward told a news conference ahead of today’s semifinal in Sochi. “It plays no role if the Germans are younger or quicker – we will be able to play against them.
“It would mean a lot to win the Confed Cup,” he said. “We have trust in our system, in our team and in our players.”
Germany are in Russia with an inexperienced squad with several members of the victorious 2014 World Cup team resting at home but Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio dismissed that from being a factor in the outcome.
“You can be young and have a lot of experience,” he said. “A 30-year-old that starts studying cardiology will know a lot less than a 21-year-old graduate.
“You cannot forget: All these players have already played in the Bundesliga or the Champions League.”
Mexico escaped Group A of the tournament unbeaten in contests with Portugal, New Zealand and Russia, twice winning games having been behind.
Germany’s Jonas Hector – himself one of the older members of the current squad at 27 – agreed with Osorio.
“If you look at how we approached the games, you certainly cannot say that we have been naive,” he said. “Most of our players have plenty of experience at club level already.”
Hector revealed the Germany senior side watched their Under-21 counterparts advance to the European Championships final in Poland with a penalty shoot-out win over England on Tuesday.
“We all watched the U-21s together last night and are really happy for them,” he said. “We want to follow suit.”
Germany drew with Copa America champions Chile in Group B between wins over Australia and Cameroon and coach Joachim Loew warned that another tough challenge awaits.
“We are happy to be in the semis and face such strong opponents like Mexico,” he said. “They are a different kind of team than Cameroon and Australia, maybe on Chile’s level, in their own way.”
Loew has continually stated his main goal is the 2018 World Cup, also in Russia, rather than merely winning the Confederations Cup.
“It is great to see that they are enjoying themselves as a real team here, they like to do stuff together,” said Loew, who is looking for his 101st victory with Germany in his 151st game in charge.
Mexico’s former leading goalscorer Jared Borgetti believes the Concacaf champions are favourites to beat Germany and reach the final of the Confederations Cup for a second time.
Borgetti, who scored three times at the 2005 Confederations Cup including twice against hosts Germany in the match for third place, said that Mexico’s greater experience could sway ay’s semi-final in Sochi.
Both squads have young players but Mexico have the more seasoned professionals, said 43-year-old Borgetti, who is now working as a television pundit. While Germany are the world champions, they are not in Russia with their first-choice squad while Mexico have their best players available, he said. Many of these players are “in a good moment” with a great desire to win what would be a second Confed Cup title after 1999.
“We will see a game I think is quite entertaining (today),” he said.
Borgetti has seen his previous record of 46 goals for Mexico now surpassed by Bayer Leverkusen striker Javier Hernandez but said that was good for Mexican football.
“It’s part of life,” he said. “There are things that do not last for a lifetime and the records are part of that, just like when I took it away from someone before.
“The emotion at that time was great for me. But as I said, he (Hernandez) is not erasing my name. A number of goals is passing … but my name is written in the (records of the) national team and in Mexican football.”
The fact that the record has been broken also shows that more and better players are coming through “and that’s what it’s all about”, he said.
Borgetti has been happy with what he has seen of the way Russia has organised the Confederations Cup and believes there should be no problems for the World Cup next year.
“It is a country that has a lot of experience, not the best in World Cups but in international competitions, and that helps a lot to be able to manage this Confederations Cup without any problem and have everything ready for the World Cup,” he said.