Mexico will return to action as they face Iceland in the return of friendlies in the United States. After a great 2020 in terms of results, Mexico has had a lackluster 2021 and will hope to turn things around in the only match before facing their first official competition in the Concacaf Nations League on June 3rd. Mexico will also have the return to friendlies in the US and also games with a crowd as they will be playing in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas against a tough Icelandic team, Although they failed to qualify for the 2021 UEFA Euro Cup, they are still a tough side that qualified to the 2018 World Cup.
Mexico and Iceland have faced each other a number of times, with Mexico having an undefeated record against them. Their first matchup came in 2003 when Mexico played a friendly in the United States during the Ricardo La Volpe era in which they tied 0-0. They wouldn’t face each other until another friendly in preparation for the 2010 World Cup, and once again it was a scoreless tie. Mexico would finally get their first victory with a 1-0 win in 2017, in a non-FIFA date friendly. The only goal was scored by Alan Pulido, and it was notable for it being the Senior National Team debut of Edson Alvarez.
The last match was also probably the most notable. It was held in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California in preparation for the 2018 World Cup, in which both teams were going to participate. While it’s common for Mexico, this was the first time that Iceland qualified to the competition. Still Mexico was able to get a great result, probably their best prior to the World Cup, with a 3-0 win. The goal were scored by Marco Fabian and Miguel Layun, who scored twice.
Mexico had a very positive 2020 in terms of results and in level of play. They played five friendlies, winning four of them including an away victory against a perennial contender like The Netherlands. Yet 2021 hasn’t started in the best way for Coach Gerardo Martino. Mexico lost their first match of the year with a 1-0 loss against Wales. The match against Wales came right in the middle of World Cup qualifiers for them, and they came with a younger starting lineup while Mexico came with a much closer lineup to their A team. Despite that, Wales handled Mexico well and got a deserved victory. Mexico will then got a 1-0 win over Costa Rica, but it was a tough match in which Mexico left it late against another team they were favored. Mexico’s problems have a lot to do with the injury to star striker Raul Jimenez, who is still not fit to play. Unlike the Wales and Costa Rica matches, Mexico will have Henry Martin on the field. Martin and Alan Pulido traveled to the prior friendlies, but were injured and didn’t play. This means that Mexico will have a true center forward available, unlike in March.
Iceland is a tough Scandinavian team, with a style that has given Mexico trouble before. They are however the team who Mexico have had the better result out of the Nordic teams. Iceland will be coming in with a mixture of young players and veterans for their friendly tour of three matches (Mexico, Faroe Islands, and Poland), as they failed to qualify for the Euro Cup. They are also in the middle of a terrible streak in which they have won just two out of their last eleven matches, losing the rest. They also had a bad start to their World Cup qualifiers with losses to Germany and Armenia, and with just a win against Liechtenstein, one of the minnows in UEFA. They will be a tough side, but Mexico should be favored and will hope to turn things around as they return to action in front of their fans.
Game: Mexico vs. Iceland
Date: Saturday, May 29th
Time: 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 p.m. Central, 6:00 p.m. Pacific, 1:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
Television: United States - TUDN, Univision; Mexico - TUDN, Televisa, Azteca; Bangladesh - SONY TEN 2; Bhutan - SONY TEN 2; India - SONY TEN 2; Maldives - SONY TEN 2; Nepal - SONY TEN 2; Pakistan - SONY TEN 2; Portugal - Sport TV2; Sri Lanka - SONY TEN 2