On Saturday, groups for the Confederations cup were drawn. Mexico was paired up with Japan, Brazil (host) and Italy in group A. This is without a doubt a much harder group than group B. Seeing how Mexico has done in the past two years, there is much reason to believe El Tri will make a solid impact. Yet, there are also reasons they may not.
Can’t: Mexico is paired up with countries who hold a total of 9 World cups
It is one thing to be paired in a tournament with one country who has won a World cup, let alone two…and combined 9 total. Right now, that is the situation Mexico is dealt. On top of that, one of those countries (Brazil) is hosting the tournament, which means the crowds will be hostile. Mexico will be facing foes that not only want to win, but know how to.
Can: Mexico will have incredible chemistry and depth
Mexico took Olympic gold right out of the hands of Brazil, all while using a purely domestic roster (since Giovani was injured). The bigger names like Chicharito, Vela, Jonathan Dos Santos, could have made that tournament a lot easier. However, since they didn’t join the squad, it forced lesser known names to go out and face some of the best in the world…and they delivered. This build up in confidence, and team depth will help Mexico immensely looking at 2013-14. I would argue Mexico is a top five team in terms of position depth.
Can’t: Club play and WCQ hangover
The Confederations cup is planted right in the middle of June of 2013. Many of Mexico’s players will not only be heading into the cup after major club play, but fighting for a spot in the World cup. CONCACAF qualifiers this cycle are some of the best in recent memory. Teams will be going after Mexico like none other, because a good result against Mexico could do wonders for a (CONCACAF) squads WCQ run. In the crunch time of qualifiers, Mexico will be heading to Brazil…which means fatigue could hurt a major Confederations cup run.
Can: The favorites are aging, and Brazil has immense pressure on them
Regardless of what some are saying about the favorites, you cannot deny that Spain, Italy, and Uruguay are aging at certain major positions. That doesn’t mean they don’t have very talented younger players on the rise, but their big stars are going to be older than Mexico’s. A 34 year-old Pirlo may have a hard time holding his own against a 22 year-old Chaton Enriquez. In addition to aging sides, Brazil has a death grip around their necks from their fans. A flop out of the Copa América, and Olympics gold failures are causing fans to get anxious, because they will be hosting the world’s best in less than two years. Let us not forget one aspect as well; Mexico has beaten Brazil at other Confederations cups, including on foreign soil.
The Confederations cup will do wonders for El Tri regardless of the result. Mexico has a very young side and anytime you can continually expose them to the best of world football, you will see them grow. Mexico has a huge test in front of them, as the reasons against them winning are heavy. However, the reasons for Mexico are just as potent. I have a lot of faith in this era of Mexican football. Before I close out this article with Mexico’s schedule, let me remind everyone of two last factors for Mexico. 1) The U.S. was paired with Italy and Brazil in 2009 and advanced out of group with two losses. 2) Mexico and Brazil are the only teams to win a Confederations cup.
Mexico’s Confederations cup schedule and groups
Group A: Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Italy
Group B: Tahiti, Uruguay, Spain, and winner of African nations (February 2013)
- June 16, 2013: Mexico vs Italy (Estádio do Maracanã)
- June 19, 2013: Brazil vs Mexico (Castelão)
- June 22, 2013: Mexico vs Japan (Mineirão)