Mexican national team Coach Gerardo Martino will use the recent friendly match against Sweden as a reference when preparing to face Poland on Tuesday in their opening match of the 2022 World Cup, stressing that it was a match that “could be repeated tomorrow”.
Al Tre lost to Sweden 2-1 in Girona, Spain, on November 16, in the last friendly match before heading to Qatar. The European side opened the scoring in the second half, before Alexis Vega quickly equalized when connecting with veteran Hector Herrera. But in the end, Matthias Svanberg sealed the victory for Sweden with a header from a corner kick.
Martino had warned Mexico earlier about the danger of free kicks, given Poland’s ability to win previous matches in this way. The Polish team recently beat Chile 1-0 with a free-kick goal, having had an impressive 27 percent possession throughout the match.
He stated, “Poland is positioning itself well. I also said that for the most part, they only have one way to play: wait and go into space. The Sweden game for me is something that can be repeated tomorrow.”
“Against Sweden we had the ball and the opponent didn’t hurt us in the transitions, the first goal that ended up going into space, we analyzed it very well. I even dare to say that on one of the set-pieces. The elements that were Poland without separating us from the idea of the game, go ahead forward.”
Martino went on to reveal expectations ahead of entering the group stage, before describing the match against Poland as “crucial”.
“We are expected to play all three matches in the same way. It does not depend exclusively on us, but on what the opponent does. If we have an advantage as to how the party will develop. We must deal with Poland,” he said.
“Given the characteristics of the group, this first match is likely to be decisive. You have to see if these tactical systems change the team’s look. Neither of them change Poland’s position in the match. What we have to do is realize that the players know that the opponent is comfortable in He played different tactical systems and they know the solution, but Poland’s style is the same, so we are preparing for the match.”
Mexico kicks off against Poland before taking on Group C rivals Argentina and Saudi Arabia. Although El Tri have historically qualified for the round of 16, and have reached this stage in their last eight World Cup matches, the pressure is on Martino’s side given their opponents.