Fresh from receiving the vote of confidence from Liga MX club owners, Mexico coach Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre was in a fighting mood ahead of Wednesday’s clash in New Jersey against a strong Ivory Coast. Asked if El Tri will be at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, De la Torre was defiant.
“Mexico is going to qualify, it is the obligation we have and we’re going to fulfill it,” de la Torre said at a press conference at the New York Red Bulls’ training facility.
Through six games in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying hexagonal, Mexico is 1-0-5, sitting in third place with eight points. The top three teams in the hex qualifying for the World Cup automatically, while the fourth-place team must play Oceania champion New Zealand for a final berth in Brazil.
De la Torre went on to explain the deep internal analysis within the Mexican soccer federation (FMF) to understand the problems that have led to El Tri stuttering in qualifying and failing to shine in either the Confederations Cup or the Gold Cup.
“The change is in the call-up for this preparation game,” stated Chepo.
Part of that change has been to include two Argentina-born players – Christian Gimenez and Damian Alvarez – with de la Torre defending their right to be in the Mexican national team in the face of criticism from some quarters.
“We’ve always left the door open for everyone,” Chepo said. “Those that are available, want (to play) and are committed to the objective of qualification are welcome.”
Finally, the Mexico manager praised the strength and speed that the Ivory Coast team – which includes Didier Drogba – possesses and said he only called up 20 players to the Mexico squad because of the long trips involved and the fact he wanted to see other players in action.