Germany might have provided Mexico stiff opposition to begin their gold medal defense, but things are only going to get a lot easier for El Tri. Fiji, who lost their opener 8-0 to South Korea, seem like almost the perfect side to play when the balance of the group is on the line.
Here is what to watch for in Mexico’s second game of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
What to watch for:
How high can they go? - It is quite simple, South Korea showed opportunism by scoring eight goals against Fiji, and Mexico will have to do something similar. Given that Fiji are one of the weakest teams in the tournament, the fate of this group could basically come down to goal difference. In theory, if Germany and South Korea settle for a draw, then El Tri might be in a position where they need to win their final group stage game against the South Koreans. As evidenced in years past, South Korea is always a difficult opponent for Mexico. The long and short of it is Raul “Potro” Gutierrez’s side needs to win this game by a lot of goals.
Oribe Peralta - Oribe Peralta is expected to be named in the starting lineup on Sunday, but the Mexican captain is coming off a small injury he picked up in the game against Germany. Coach Gutierrez admitted Peralta will be fit, but the worry for Mexico is he might aggravate his injury. Mexico has the fortune to play their second game against the least talented team in the group, so it serves to ask how long Oribe Peralta will play in this game.
Momentum can be everything - Momentum can make or break a team in a short tournament like this one. It is not just that Mexico drew with Germany in their opening game. It was really about about how they maximized the effectiveness of their players against a tough team like the German. A distinctive feature of this Mexico team is that there is an important core of players (the Pachuca trio) all playing at a high level. Look to them to keep their momentum going ahead of the games that really matter most.