Today, El Tri officially revealed Algeria as its opponent for its October 13 friendly in the Netherlands and its group stage opponents for next year’s Gold Cup.
The official announcement of the Desert Foxes as Mexico’s opponent for October’s friendly comes as a pleasant surprise for those who hoped that the national team would be able to find an opponent that would challenge its best players in terms of collective and individual ability and tactical astuteness after rumors had surfaced that the opponent could have been either Qatar or New Zealand, who might not have presented the same kind of challenge.
While the region’s struggles or unwillingness to provide an effective medical and economic response to COVID-19 pandemic has complicated CONCACAF’s FIFA World Cup tournament, México found out its initial Gold Cup opponents in a draw later Monday evening, when the national teams of El Salvador and Curaçao were both drawn in Group A. The identity of the fourth team in Mexico’s group will be the national selection of one of either Trinidad and Tobago, Montserrat, Cuba, or French Guiana. The four nations are among twelve who are looking to play their way into the Gold Cup proper via a two round knockout preliminary round.
Although, El Tri remain obligated to win the Gold Cup, both draws of opponents come amid a complicated time for the national team. The schedule congestion and travel restrictions brought on by COVID-19 have left clubs in North America in a position to prevent El Tri from calling in their players for camps and friendly matches, especially those abroad and not tied to official qualification matches even though they may come during an international window.
The sentiment and controversy comes amid reports that MLS franchise Inter Miami blocked Gerardo Martino and the FMF from calling in Rodolfo Pizarro and Club America manager Miguel Herrera openly blaming an injury that kept starting goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa out of the Guardianes 2020 edition of El Clasico Joven.
it is a problem that Gerardo Martino and his staff should be able to utilize to monitor and recruit a wider array of players who are either Europe based for Mexico’s October friendly or a domestic or Americas-based selection for preparations closer to home.
The October 13 friendly is set to kick off from The Hague, home of Eredivisie club ADO Den Haag, at 2:00 PM Central Standard Time (3:00 PM EST).