Juan Carlos Osorio thinks his Mexico team will face a different beast to the Germany that thrashed them at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Sunday’s World Cup Group F opener.
Joachim Low’s experimental side swept to glory in the intercontinental tournament in Russia a year ago, and 13 of that victorious squad have been named for Die Mannschaft’s World Cup defence comes as a resounding endorsement.
But the return of seasoned stars such as Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira, Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil have changed the dynamic in Osorio’s opinion, with the patient possession approach of Brazil 2014 returning in favour of the eviscerating transitions that set up a storming 4-1 win over El Tri in Sochi a year ago.
‘In our opinion, this German national team is a very different team,’ the Mexico boss told a pre-match news conference at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
‘In the Confederations Cup, they played with a back three and wing-backs, using a very emphatic transitional game.
‘Now they decided to play with a back four and had one extra player in midfield and attack. They try to play a more possession [based] game and obviously that brings very different questions to their play.’
Indeed, with the PSV star Hirving Lozano the jewel in a versatile Mexico attack, Osorio hopes that this time it can be his men doing damage on the counter-attack.
‘Any team that tries to play with a back four on the halfway line, they are exposed with 35 metres in behind them. [Germany] are no exception,’ he explained.
‘I think they are very good on the ball, they have two central midfielders very capable of commanding the game, controlling the game and governing the game if we allow them to do it.
‘Kroos and Khedira are two central midfielders of the top level – one at Real Madrid and one at Juventus. I will not be the one to discover they are very good at distributing the ball.
‘Nevertheless, we can compete with them and we think that we have a good chance to match up with the best team in world football and try to go head to head against them.’
Osorio served a six-match ban immediately after the Confederations Cup as punishment for insulting the match officials following a 2-1 defeat to Portugal in the third-place playoff – his second indiscretion of the tournament after a foul-mouthed rant during the fractious 2-1 win over New Zealand.
Mexico and Germany do battle in their opening game at the World Cup on Sunday afternoon, with kick-off scheduled for 5pm.
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