It was a very eventful 2017 for all of Mexican football. We saw some things that were massively disappointing, however, we also saw some things that offer genuine hope for the upcoming year, and ultimately, the World Cup.
Take a look at the best and worst for El Tri in 2017…
Low: The Germany loss in the semifinal of the Confederations Cup
The group stage of the Confederations Cup was a relatively positive time for Mexico. They pulled out a draw in an exciting match against reigning Euro champions Portugal, yet, they also struggled to get a win over New Zealand. At the end of the day, Mexico and Juan Carlos Osorio were faced with a young and hungry German side in the semifinal.
One aspect of the national team that had suffered in the recent years was defensive cohesion. Two defenders in Carlos Salcedo and Diego Reyes were ruled out in the semifinal clash which put JCO in a spot to get interesting with his starting XI.
What transpired was a total disaster.
Osorio sent out a bizarre lineup, putting players in positions they are not accustomed to, and Germany took Mexico to school on it. The 1-4 loss was another let down in a big tournament, and Mexico will have to enter the 2018 World Cup with amnesia because they will face Germany first in the group stage.
High: The Rise Of Álvarez
While two defenders were ruled out in the semifinal of the Confederations Cup, there was one player who Mexican fans would’ve loved to see fill in the centreback role in Edson Álvarez. The young centreback/defensive midfielder took over the spotlight at the 2017 Gold Cup, where JCO put him in unusual positions, and yet, he came through.
Today, Edson very well could be a starter in Mexico’s plans and finally fill a defensive midfield role that has been weak since the 2014 World Cup.
Low: Carlos Vela deciding to leave European football
Carlos Vela was one of Mexico’s most dangerous players in the 2017 year, playing a big part in the “stroll in the park” style during World Cup qualification in the CONCACAF. After a successful showing in Russia 2017, Carlos Vela revealed that he would no longer be suiting up for his Spanish side Real Sociedad in 2018.
After years of speculation with MLS, Carlos Vela had decided to join LAFC, a new club debuting in March 2018. It’s a decision which we have gone over before, but it is a move that could ultimately hurt the national team in a year he would be needed the most.
High: Euro tour/Govea debut/Chucky silencing doubters
This one is a bit of a combination because we saw several things happen simultaneously which were all positive. Shortly after the Confederations Cup, Mexico announced a November Euro tour against Belgium and Poland. Fans looked at the sky and yelled, “finally!” For years, the Mexican national team scheduled US-based games in front of huge home crowds. The 2017 Euro tour was the first since 2011 since Mexico went abroad to face tough competition.
First things first, a 3-3 draw and a 1-0 win over two good European sides offered that hope Mexico fans needed to see. Many predicted a thrashing at the hands of Belgium but Chucky Lozano came through with one of the best performances of the year, scoring two huge second-half goals. This also silenced the doubters who felt his blazing start with PSV was a fluke. Belgium was equipped with a strong squad and Chucky came through to surprise many.
Lastly, during the Poland match, midfielder Omar Govea made his El Tri debut. He came in during the second half and was instantly noticeable, in a good way. He had a poise which was comforting to see. Many, similar to Chucky, felt his success in Belgium may have been overinflated, however, he filled into his spot like a true professional.
There were many highs and lows this year, so what do you think? What were some events that could be added to this list?