Tata Martino’s side started the Gold Cup in impressive form but face a sterner test in Denver against opponents in the midst of a strong winning run
Mexico’s Gold Cup campaign began in style but they will have to step things up against Canada in Denver on Wednesday.
El Tri recorded a thumping 7-0 success over Cuba, the lowest-ranked side in Group A, giving them an ideal springboard to approach what, on paper, will be their toughest challenge en route to the knockout stages.
Canada, 78 in the FIFA Ranking at the outset of the tournament, was also a convincing winner in Matchday 1, sweeping away Martinique 4-0 to effectively give the players a free hit at one of the tournament favorites.
|Game||Mexico vs Canada|
|Date||Wednesday, June 19|
|Time||3:30am BST / 10:30pm ET|
|Stream (US)||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial).
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|Univision / Fox Sports 2||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be broadcast on FreeSports.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
Mexico boss Tata Martino is hopeful that Edson Alvarez could be fit, having suffered an injury against Venezuela in a pre-tournament friendly. His return could mean that Carlos Salcedo is pushed to the bench, having himself felt a knock recently.
Jonathan dos Santos could be handed some role after being kept out of the opening match with a heel problem.
No chances are expected to be taken over Rodolfo Pizarro, meaning Uriel Antuna should continue in attack. He trained alone on the eve of the game, along with Hector Moreno, whose return is not programmed for this match.
Mexico XI: Ochoa; Rodriguez, Reyes, Araujo, Gallardo; Dos Santos, Alvarez, Gutierrez; Antuna, Jimenez, Alvarado
|Goalkeepers||Leutwiler, Borjan, Crepeau|
|Defenders||Brault-Guillard, Morgan, Cornelius, Henry, Miller, Godinho|
|Midfielders||Johnson, Piette, Teibert, Arfield, Hoilett, Davies, Hutchison, Kaye, Okello, Osorio|
|Forwards||Larin, Millar, Cavallini, David|
Canada will be eager to tighten things up at the back after some nervy moments in their victory over Martinique, particularly against opponents they know to be so prolific.
Coach John Herdman should have his full strength to be able to select from and is liable to set up in a more circumspect manner than in the opening match.
Canada XI: Borjan; Brault-Guillard, Cornelius, Henry, Kaye; Teibert, Hutchinson, Johnson, Davies; Cavallini, Larin
Mexico are strong 1/4 favourites with bet365. Canada are 11/1 to cause an upset, while the draw is on offer at 9/2.
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On the opening night of 2019 Gold Cup action, Canada provided the appetizer at the Rose Bowl as it trounced Martinique 4-0 before Mexico, battered by injuries and call offs, took to the same field less than an hour later and sent notice to their rivals as they hammered Cuba 7-0.
Now the Canadians are hoping to avoid becoming the main course, with Tata Martino’s side starting to build formidable momentum after an impressive run of five-straight victories, including strong friendly successes against Venezuela and Ecuador in the build up to the competition.
Uriel Antuna grabbed the headlines on opening night by bagging a hat-trick, though Raul Jimenez was not far behind with a double, while Diego Reyes and Alexis Vega were also on target.
It was a result that sets Mexico up nicely for what is to come, though head coach Martino still feels his team must prove themselves.
“I’m still convinced we have to perfect the Plan A,” he explained on Tuesday. “That’s something you hear a lot in Argentina, people demanding about a change of plan when long term we’re always talking about the lack of time for a national team manager. They demand a Plan B or Plan C when in reality what you have to do is perfect the A. What we’re doing is starting with the A.
“I’m really happy because I think there’s a clear form to the team, apart from the opponents and the strengths they have, to come out and try to dominate the game. In this sense, we’ve played better at times, other times not as much but the way in which the team plays can clearly be seen.”
Canada, meanwhile, goes chasing its first victory over Mexico since 2000 off the back of six-straight wins, albeit against far less illustrious opponents. Nevertheless, it made a strong start to its Gold Cup challenge thanks to two goals from Jonathan David, followed up by efforts from Junior Hoilett and Scott Arfield.
Coach John Herdman is aware, however, of the challenge facing his side on Wednesday.
“Mexico have characteristics similar to the team they had at the 2018 World Cup but Martino has players who move very well. It’s amazing to see them work,” he said. “It’s a damn good team and I hope one day Canada can reach its level.
“I think Mexico is always the team to beat in CONCACAF, they’re full of stars and it’s the biggest soccer country in North America, it’s a good opportunity to come in as the underdog, it’s a David against Goliath.”
Canada have used videos of the Toronto Raptors’ NBA title success in order to motivate the team ahead of this clash, though it would surely go down as one of the shocks of the tournament if it was to come out on top.