With a 3-1 win against Canada on Wednesday evening, El Tri (2-0-0, 6 pts in Group A) maintained its 100% record under Gerardo Martino’s management. That 100% record has given El Tri control of its destiny in Group A heading into its final match of the opening phase against Martinique.
Though Les Matinino (1-0-1, 3 pts) are not particularly known to El Tri, the selection from the French overseas department situated in the Caribbean still can end Mexico’s campaign at the earliest phase. Martinique can potentially count on Cuba are having enough moments of innocence in enough dangerous situations that it is unlikely Canada fails to defeat Les Leones.
Martinique, whose football federation is not a member of FIFA, are also unfamiliar to El Tri, with the two sides only playing each other three other times, all since 1983. However, there is also good news for El Tri in the history–it defeated its opponents on Sunday by an aggregate score of 12-1.
El Tri also have some good news on the injury front. Even though no player has to worry about a yellow card suspension for El Tri, Rodolfo Pizarro and Hector Moreno both returned to the team to train. However, while Sanchez and Moreno are on the verge of return, they lose the services of central midfielder Erick Gutierrez. Gutierrez, who left Wednesday’s match against Canada in the first half with an unspecified injury, stayed at the team’s hotel in Charlotte rather than join the team.
However, the injury news had come on the back of a ten hour delayed flight into Charlotte, because the charter plane El Tri took from Denver needed a tire change. In making the tire change, had to make an extra stop and then shuttle Cuba and Canada first to Charlotte. Fortunately, both El Tri and Martinique experienced the delay, so both teams found their preparation time cut short by the same amount due to the same logistic issue.
Martinique, on the other hand, also faces the prospect of four players at risk of yellow card suspension, should the side manage to advance to the quarterfinals–Joris Marveaux, Samuel Camille, Jordy Delem, and Mickael Biron.
If anything were to give El Tri hope, it is that it has tended to not just make chances more frequently than it had under Juan Carlos Osorio (in part because players understand approximately who and where they have to dismark and break their opponents’ pressure and defending) in that it continues to produce goals. However, even though El Tri opened its goal cup with 10 goals scored in its first 2 games, its developed a habit for those goals coming from relatively few players. Raul Jimenez, Uriel Antuna, and Andres Guardado have scored 70% of El Tri goals so far. The goals have come from the means by which make many El Tri fans think of the contributions by Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, Hector Herrera, Jesus Manuel Corona, and Hirving Lozano in recent tournaments.
The match kicks off from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina at 8:30 PM Eastern DST (UTC -4) and 5:30 PM Pacific DST (UTC -7), and can be seen in the United States on FS1, Univision, UDN, and whichever over the top streaming platforms carry those networks.