Mexico will play their first game in Europe under Gerardo Martino as they face a tough Netherlands team in a friendly on Wednesday October 7th. It will be the first UEFA team that Martino faces as the coach of Mexico in what should be the toughest rival since their friendly against Argentina in 2019, the only game Mexico has lost under Martino. The Netherlands will debut their new coach Frank De Boer, who coincidentally succeeded Martino as head coach of Atlanta United. Yet with two Nations League games in the next day, The Netherlands should play with an experimental squad as they concentrate in the official tournament games later in the week.
Mexico will return to face the Netherlands in the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam. Mexico last played the Dutch team in a friendly in that same stadium in which they defeated the European side behind two goals from Carlos Vela in his return to the national team. Mexico had been eliminated by the Dutch in the 2014 World Cup in a game in which the had the lead until the final minutes, when behind a goal by Wesley Sneijder and a penalty kick by Klaas Jan Huntelaar that lives in infamy in Mexico with the famous “No era Penal” chant starting that day.
Mexico will hope for a return of the result as they go with one of the possibly strongest teams they have available. Mexico will miss Hirving Lozano, who had to stay in Napoli because of a COVID-19 quarantine to the whole team. They will also miss Carlos Rodriguez, who stayed in Mexico after testing positive for COVID-19, but will have most of their stars including Jesus Corona and Raul Jimenez. While they will miss starting goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, they will have Alfredo Talavera, who most feel has been the best goalkeeper in Mexico this season. Mexico should have a strong lineup for the first time since their match against Argentina, a game they lost by a 4-0 score. Mexico should learn a lesson as they paid dearly for trying to make a stand against a team they thought wasn’t as strong as they normally are, something that might repeat itself in Amsterdam.
Frank de Boer will make his debut as Netherlands coach against Mexico, but has also said that they shouldn’t be playing the match. With the players having actions this weekend and having two tough Nations League games on October 11th and October 14th (away games against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy), the friendly match would be the only one for them on Dutch soil but the least important during this FIFA break. De Boer face a tough situation in which he has to face a tough team like Mexico with a weaker squad to “save” themselves for the Nations League, which could open themselves up for a defeat. That being said, the Netherlands have enough quality in their call up list to give Mexico a tough match, and Mexico already suffered a terrible result with Martino in a similar situation. Their friendly against Argentina had the team with a tough squad but missing top players like Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero, which led to many fans and the Mexican press to say it was a great opportunity to beat Argentina as for the first time Mexico would be the superior squad. It turned out not to be, and a very offensive Mexico got opened up by counter attacks and ended up trailing 4-0 at halftime in what has been Martino’s worst game and only loss as Mexico’s coach. They could also face a hungrier squad with a lot of players that will try to prove themselves as capable of being in the starting lineup for the Nations League.
Mexico will have a tough match against the Netherlands, but it’s exactly what Mexico is looking for. With a 2021 that looks to be filled with Concacaf World Cup Qualifying and Gold Cup matches, Mexico will have a tough time getting quality opposition and even less opportunities for trips to Europe to face top teams, something that fans always complain of Mexico not playing. The Argentina match was a tough loss but since that match, they have only played against Bermuda, Panama, and Guatemala, winning all games but not getting tested at all. So matches like this, will be a plus for Mexico and hopefully Gerardo Martino takes advantage of it.
Game: Netherlands vs. Mexico
Date: Saturday, January 6th
Time: 2:45 p.m. Eastern, 1:45 p.m. Central, 11:45 a.m. Pacific, 6:45 p.m. UTC
Venue: Johan Cruyff ArenA (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Television: United States - ESPN 2, TUDN, UniMás; Mexico - Canal 5 Televisa, Azteca 7, TUDN; Listings in the rest of the world can be found here.