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Confederations Cup: Why Mexico Lost Before The Ball Was Kicked

Mexico Juan Carlos Osorio
SOCHI, RUSSIA - JUNE 29: Juan Carlos Osorio, head coach of Mexico reacts during the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 Semi-Final between Germany and Mexico at Fisht Olympic Stadium on June 29, 2017 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

After a good showing in the group stages, Mexico was set to take on Germany in the Confederations Cup semifinal. With Chile advancing over Portugal the day prior, it was Mexico’s turn to try and make it a full Latin American final.

However, that did not happen. Germany simply out-coached, and outclassed Mexico in a 4-1 drubbing. Mexico’s old knockout stage demons showed up as they usually do, sadly.

Yet, Mexico lost for several reasons, even before the match started…

Changes, Formation, Players out of position 

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Juan Carlos Osorio is known for his changes, whether that be players or formations. It’s a stubborn way of managing a national team and it almost cost Mexico the match against New Zealand. Germany, however, is not New Zealand. They are clinical, and they have a large player pool which must be respected, and it showed on Thursday.

Juan Carlos Osorio sent out a 4-3-3 which looked like this…

  • Ochoa
  • Layún, Aruajo, Moreno, Alanís
  • J. dos Santos, Herrera, G. dos Santos
  • Raúl, Chicharito, Aquino

Yes, Mexico had injuries, but there are glaring problems with this lineup. Oswaldo Alanís and Raúl Jimenez are not in their proper positions. Alanís is a center-back, while Raúl is a striker, not a wing player. Using Raúl on the wing renders his talents useless, and it is why Benfica never does so.

Mexico had Luís Reyes, who is a true right-back, to play this match. Implementing a 5-3-2 with both Reyes and Alanís would have made much more sense.

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Giovani dos Santos had underwhelming performances in the cup, and didn’t even play against Russia. Yet, JCO sends him out as a LM. Meanwhile, one of Frankfurt’s best players was on the bench in Marco Fabían. A guy who plays against similar teams week in, and week out.

No Vela

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It’s hard to argue with Tecatito being out of the roster that Mexico’s best attacking option is Carlos Vela. Once again, Carlos Vela saw zero minutes in a Confederations Cup match, claiming a measly 90 total played in four games.

When you play a striker out wide, and have a winger/forward on the bench, you are setting yourself up for problems. Some say Raúl is out there because he drops back, which is great, but that isn’t his job. If your concern is defense, put out the 5-3-2, and have your true center-backs be center-backs.

There were options left out

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I understand Mexico has two tournaments this summer, but this was the big one. With the possibility of injuries/suspensions, Osorio could’ve brought Cesar Montes, Édson Álvarez, Jesus ‘Gallito’ Vazquez, Jorge Hernández etc., and if he didn’t have intentions of playing them, that’s fine. Nonetheless, having them as options in important positions could’ve gone a long way.

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So, what’s next?

Mexico lost a major opportunity to make it big, and now they will have to fight for a third place finish. This is the second tournament in which Osorio’s team looked a level below their opponent in a knockout match, getting outscored 1-11.

Juan Carlos Osorio will most likely stick around, but if things aren’t changed with his approach to these tournaments, Mexico will not be going anywhere near a World Cup quarterfinal with him in charge.

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