Sunday’s international friendly action sees Mexico hosting a depleted Scotland side at the Estadio Azteca. The home side will be looking to claim victory in what is their last home match prior to the World Cup.
Though they dominated most of their midweek friendly with Wales in California, Mexico could only labour to a 0-0 draw, with some of the team’s fringe players failing to impress. El Tri never looked like conceding in the match but lacked a clinical edge, something they’ll be looking to find in this match with some of their big hitters set to be given some minutes.
Juan Carlos Osorio doesn’t have an exact starting XI in mind for the forthcoming World Cup, evidenced by the fact he’s yet to repeat a single lineup in his 3 years in charge. As such, in front of huge home crowd, those that take to the field will be keen to impress, with continuing a strong home record that reads 6 wins from the last 8 in front of a majority Mexican crowd the target.
Meanwhile, returning Scotland boss Alex McLeish has already been lamenting the fact that his squad was significantly weakened prior to this round of friendlies, having suffered 6 withdrawals from his squad and now must deal with the fact that both Lewis Stevenson and Matt Phillips have left the camp following Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat to Peru.
That leaves an already inexperienced Tartan Army group short of legs, something that has them facing a huge task in the match given the distance they’ve already travelled and with the Azteca being situated well over 2,200 metres above sea level. Though far from embarrassed, Scotland’s young group were clearly second best in their trip to Lima, a match in which 7 men made their international debuts, and now face an even big challenge in such gruelling, high altitude condition.
Ultimately, it’d be a huge surprise if this clash ended in anything but a home win and with Scotland having offered very little threat against Peru and lost 3 of their last 4 away friendlies without scoring, backing Mexico to win to nil looks the way to play.
El Tri looked defensively sound in their clash with Wales and have kept clean sheets in 4 of their last 6 home matches. The hosts should make fairly short work of a Scotland team that’s already exhausted and has no experience whatsoever of the brutal conditions that await, with a 2-0 margin of victory on the cards.
Mexico possible starting XI: Ochoa; Alvarez, Ayala, Salcedo, Gallardo; Dos Santos, Molina, Herrera; Dos Santos, Jimenez, Corona.
Scotland possible starting XI: Archer; O’Donnell, Mulgrew, McKenna, Shinnie; McGeouch, McLean, McTominay, McGinn, Morgan; McBurnie
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This will be the first ever meeting between the two nations.
Andres Guardado, Hector Moreno and Diego Reyes have all been struggling for fitness but should gain some minutes in this friendly. Goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera and defenders Miguel Layún and Rafael Marquez have now joined up with the squad.
7 players made their international debuts in the defeat to Peru midweek. Lewis Stevenson and Matt Phillips have pulled out of the squad since that game.