Mexico men’s national team coach Gerardo « Tata » Martino has stated that he will be patient with injured stars Raul Jimenez and Jesus « Tecatito » Corona, hoping that they can make it into the World Cup roster.
« The only ones who will take us to the last minute are Jesus [‘Tecatito’ Corona] and Raul [Jimenez]. When the medical staff asked me until when [we can wait]I told them that November 16, » said Martino during a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against Colombia at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
« But those who aren’t within the 26 players [World Cup list]won’t go to Girona [for the final two friendlies in Spain this November]. »
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Corona is currently recovering with LaLiga club Sevilla after suffering a fractured fibula this summer that initially deemed him to be out of the World Cup. Earlier last week, Martino stated that they will reevaluate his injury in early October.
Jimenez left Mexico’s current camp on Sunday and rejoined Wolverhampton Wanderers after being unavailable for last Saturday’s 1-0 win over Peru at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. During a media day last week, Martino noted that Jimenez’s injury was more serious than he thought, highlighting that « I never thought we would be in this situation. »
Along with other injuries and the addition of new players in Mexico’s current structure, Martino admitted that an « injustice » will be made when he selects his final World Cup roster.
« There is an injustice that I am going to commit, when I send the list, » said Mexico’s coach on Monday. « [Inside the squad] it generates a lot of anguish, a lot of sadness, and outside it’s going to be a terrible mess. »
During the press conference, Martino also believes that the emergence of new players that are fighting for World Cup spots has been one of the positive takeaways in his managerial cycle with ‘El Tri’ that began in 2019.
« If you compare the roster from [the 2018 World Cup in] Russia and the one now, hardly anyone is still around, » said Martino.
That said, the manager was vague when asked about guiding these players in the future, mentioning that « it doesn’t depend on me » for his post-Qatar role and that he’s only focused on the World Cup.
Looking ahead to Tuesday’s friendly vs Colombia, Jimenez and Corona will not be the only players missing for Mexico.
Houston Dynamo Designated Player Hector Herrera, Ajax’s Jorge Sanchez and Monterrey duo Rogelio Funes Mori and Luis Romo — who all left national team camp early on Sunday to return to their clubs — were all unavailable for the previous match against Peru.
More players should be given a chance against Colombia this Tuesday, and according to Martino, at least half of the starting XI will be different from the one last Saturday.
Looking at bench options, Mexico’s coach noted that Chivas forward Alexis Vega has a « very good chance » for an appearance, but was doubtful about Feyenoord’s up-and-coming Santiago Gimenez, who is being evaluated for a shoulder injury.
Once done with September’s World Cup « sendoff » friendlies in California, two final pre-Qatar exhibitions are scheduled for Mexico against Iraq on Nov. 9 and Sweden on Nov. 16, both to be held in Spain at Girona’s Estadi Montilivi.
Then, in the World Cup, ‘El Tri’ will go up against Poland (Nov. 22), Saudi Arabia (Nov. 26), and Argentina (Nov. 30) in the group stage.