Mexico have taken part in six of the nine editions of the FIFA Confederations Cup, winning in 1999
The FIFA Confederations Cup is unquestionably a special competition for Mexico and, at this year’s edition in Russia, they will be aiming to replicate their triumph of 18 years ago.
Over the course of his video interview, Juan Carlos Osorio tells us the kind of playing style we can expect from his charges during the 17 June–2 July Tournament of Champions. Indeed, after 18 months at the helm, the Colombian’s hallmark can clearly be seen in El Tri.
“If there are no physical issues with the players – that nucleus of 14 who play abroad – then we’ll have a very good chance of showcasing our style of football. That said, each game brings its own set of challenges,” the coach explained.
Now 55, Osorio has been in charge of Mexico for 20 games, of which they have won 17 and drawn two. And while there was the blemish of a painful 7-0 defeat to Chile during the Copa America Centenario 2016, the coach has been instrumental in ending some unwanted sequences on the road.
As well as a near-obsessive interest in the tactical side of the game, Osorio also knows when to ask for and listen to advice. “I recall the words of Sir Alex Ferguson,” he told us. “When I was working at Manchester City [as an assistant coach], I had the chance to meet him and see first-hand some training sessions at Manchester United. He told me, 'At this level, what matters is that everyone gets to play, as the money the players earn becomes of secondary importance to them.'”
Judging by his rotation policy with El Tri, it is a philosophy he now shares with the United legend. “In any walk of life, a person feels part of a group when he gets to participate actively in it. A football player is no different,” said the Colombian.
He has also taken advice from other figures outside Mexico in his quest to bring greater success to the national team. “After speaking to Marcelo Bielsa, we came to the same conclusion that competition is the most important thing. In our CONCACAF region, Mexico has historically been either the best or among the best. In World Cups, however, the Round of 16 tie that precedes the famous fifth fixture (quarter-final) normally pits us against South American or European opposition. So, to be prepared for this fifth, sixth or seventh game, the best thing you can have is competition – which is exactly what you get in tournaments like this [Confederations Cup].
“If we can continue to compete in these kind of international tournaments and hold our own, Mexican football will be able to improve, enabling us to attain that longed-for quarter-final place,” he concluded.
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<li><em>El Tri currently <a href="http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/preliminaries/nccamerica/group=276450/index.html">lead CONCACAF’s Hexagonal final qualifying group for Russia 2018</a></em>