Mexico vs Bolivia | Saturday 13 June | Estadio Sausalito, Vina del Mar | 01:30
CONCACAF invitees Mexico will lock horns with South American minnows Bolivia in Group A’s other fixture.
To Win (90mins)
Mexico are part of the CONCACAF region but are often part of the Copa America’s invited teams. This year the tournament comes at a bad time for the Mexicans as their own continental cup, the Gold Cup, is taking place in the USA and Canada just after the South American Cup. As a result, coach Miguel Herrera has been forced to bring what is effectively a B team, choosing from players who are on the fringe of the senior squad. These players include 36-year-old central defender Rafael Marquez, who has played at four World Cups, and Atletico Madrid striker Raul Jimenez. Having left the likes of Javier Hernandez and Giovani Dos Santos at home, manager Miguel Herrera will be mainly looking to improve upon his country’s last performance in this competition four years ago, when a similarly understrength side scored just once on their way to losing all three matches. Herrera has placed priority on the CONCACAF competition because a win would take Mexico into a play-off with the United States for a place at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. This experimental team have already played three friendlies. They managed a 3-0 home victory over Guatemala but then could only draw against slightly stronger Peru. El Tri were then beaten 2-0 in Brazil, in a match that showed the squad’s limited capabilities.
Bolivia are South America’s lowest ranked team lying 89th in the world rankings. That’s 66 positions below Mexico. El Verde (the Green) rely heavily on the high altitude of their home games in the mountains of Bolivia to secure the majority of their victories, so they are always expected to struggle as usual on foreign turf. They have a relatively new coach in Mauricio Soria, who has selected a squad of players predominantly from the domestic league and it’s unlikely that they will be able to finally break their bad run in Copa America and escape the group stages. Marcelo Martins Moreno, a striker based in China, is probably the team’s most well known player having featured for European clubs such as Shakhtar Donetsk and Wigan Athletic. However, the 27-year-old will be looking to break an international goal drought that extends back to June 2013. Bolivia were no match for Argentina in an away friendly last weekend, losing humiliatingly 5-0. And that scoreline was achieved without goal machines Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez.
VERDICT: Mexico 5/10
Mexico were beaten 2-0 by Brazil over the weekend but looking at Bolivia’s hammering at the hands of Argentina, you can consider Mexico’s loss acceptable against the five-time world champions. Mexico might not have their best team but their local league is of a much higher standard to that of Bolivia’s. Mexico should claim the victory.