As Mexico found out what Gold Cup group they would draw, reports are that Gerardo Martino has confirmed that Diego Lainez will not go to the Gold Cup, but instead will be with the U-20 World Cup team. There is no word yet from Real Betis if they will grant permission (something not needed for the Gold Cup) with them playing a couple of highly advertised friendlies in the United States, in which both Lainez and Andres Guardado have been used as the faces for. Still, should there be no problem for it, Lainez will join the squad which he helped qualify to the World Cup in the WC qualifiers last November.
While some reports of the press has said that it’s a step back for Lainez and that he has been relegated to the youth teams, the reality is that it doesn’t look that way at all. While it’s true that it’s the less important team, the tournament challenge is not as clear. With the U-20 World Cup team, he will be by far the most important player and will have the bigger challenge, as he will have to lead the team in a situation in which Mexico is in the Group of Death. Meanwhile in the Gold Cup, Lainez wouldn’t be one of the leaders in a competition where Mexico is heavily favored. Not only has the tournament prestige decreased in Mexico with the news that there won’t be a Confederations Cup in 2021 (which means that winning the tournament is the only prize), but the tournament being increased to four more teams means it should have a decrease in quality.
The bigger challenge for Lainez will be in Poland, where he should be the most help as Mexico’s team hasn’t been having the best results after failing to win the U-20 Championship and losing both their friendlies this past FIFA Date. Mexico will open their tournament on May 23 against Italy, then face Japan before closing against Ecuador.