After snatching a point against Portugal, the Mexico national team will look to move one step closer to the semifinals of the Confederations Cup when they take on New Zealand at Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia.
Many will remember New Zealand as the team Mexico defeated en route to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, after disastrous World Cup qualifying campaign under Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre finished with Mexico having to play an intercontinental playoff against the “All Whites”. Of course, this was four years ago and this game presents itself under completely different circumstances. New Zealand arrive to this game following their 2-0 defeat to hosts Russia in the opening game of the tournament, which means the onus is on the All Whites to win this match if they want to have any chance of progressing to the next round.
That said, to say New Zealand come into this match as big underdogs would be an understatement. The All Whites have never been able to win a game at the Confederations Cup. What’s more, their recent record against Mexico doesn’t exactly exude much confidence, historically losing five of their six meetings against El Tri.
With that in mind, Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio is expected to tinker with Mexico’s lineup and give several of his players some rest, including the likes of Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Andres Guardado, a move that would no doubt reinvigorate the debate of the famous “rotations”.
All things considered, though, against what is on paper the most accessible team in the group, anything short of a win would be a bad result for Mexico. El Tri showed plenty of character and resilience against Portugal, but it is now time to show their finesse against New Zealand if they are to be taken seriously in this tournament.
Date: Wednesday, June 21
Time: 11:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Central, 2:00 PM Eastern
Venue: Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Russia
Television: Telemundo (US-Spanish), Fox Sports 1 (US-English), UnivisionTDN (Mexico), SKY Planeta Fútbol (Mexico), Azteca 7 (Mexico), TDN (Mexico), Canal de las Estrellas (Mexico), Sky HD (Mexico)