SOCHI, Russia – After a 2-2 draw with Portugal to open its 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup campaign Sunday, Mexico (0W-1D-0L, 1 point) is already thinking about Wednesday’s encounter with Oceania champion New Zealand (0-0-1, 0).
The sides squared off in a two-legged playoff for a berth in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with the Mexicans triumphing, 9-3 on aggregate (1st leg: 5-1 home win, 2nd leg: 4-2 away win). In their last meeting on October 8, 2016, Mexico earned a 2-1 victory on goals by Giovani dos Santos and Marco Fabian.
In regard to New Zealand, Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio said: “We know that normally, like when we faced them in a friendly and when we saw them in the match against Russia, they are going to present a five-man defense, two midfielders in front trying to protect, and three up top, always with a center forward and a second one that makes runs, so I believe that they are not going to change much.”
Like he has done throughout CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Osorio is likely to rotate in players who did not feature against the Portuguese. For the Colombian, it is important to have fresh legs and have the right men on the field to nullify New Zealand’s main weapon.
“We are thinking about giving the chance to some of our players, to present a team that is very fresh, very competitive and, above all, capable of playing with our strengths, but also controlling what they have, which is aerial football.” concluded Osorio.
In six all-time games between them, Mexico holds a 5-1 advantage in wins over New Zealand. The Kiwis only victory came in a friendly, 4-0, on August 20, 1980.