Mexico to make waves

Chichar­ito says they’re out to beat young Germans for a spot in the fi­nal

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - DPA

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.

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