Mexico’s inexperienced Copa America squad will need to pick up some confidence in their opening game against Bolivia if they are to avoid a tough tournament.
With Mexico set to compete in both the Copa America and CONCACAF Gold Cup over the next two months, coach Miguel Herrera has been forced to name two separate squads for the respective continental championships.
Herrera announced his Gold Cup squad on Wednesday, including the likes of Real Madrid’s Javier Hernandez, Giovani dos Santos of Villarreal and Porto’s Hector Herrera, confirming that CONCACAF’s premier event is Mexico’s first priority.
But before that event kicks off on July 7, Mexico have to navigate CONMEBOL’s Copa America in Chile, with Herrera turning to his next generation plus a handful of veterans.
Former international Francisco Fonseca believes Mexico fans will have to temper their expectations, although an impressive victory over Bolivia in Vina del Mar on Friday could give Herrera’s side a boost.
“We must be modest, we must be calm and we have to understand that this is an alternative national team, and if they reach a semi-final for me it would be a major achievement,” Fonseca told Goal.
“[They must] play the best they can and reach as far as possible. It is unlikely that this team can fight for the title due to the short amount of time the players have been training together.”
Mexico lost 2-0 to Brazil on Sunday, to finish with one win, one draw and a loss from their three pre-Copa America friendlies.
Raul Jimenez and Javier Aquino will be looking to prove they deserved selection in Mexico’s first-string squad after differing seasons in La Liga.
Jimenez, 24, barely played in his first campaign with Atletico, while Aquino, 25, was much more regularly involved on loan at Rayo Vallecano from Villarreal in 2014-15.
Bolivia will be looking to end a tough run at the Copa, with the mountainous country having failed to reach the semi-finals since 1997, when they hosted the tournament.
Mauricio Soria’s side are in dreadful form, however, with just one win in their past 16 matches.
They have lost nine times in that period.
With hosts Chile and Ecuador the favourites to advance from Group A, Mexico and Bolivia will know a loss in their opening match could see them eliminated after the group stage.
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