MEXICO CITY (Xinhua)
-- The Mexican football team will have
to adopt a combative and united attitude to shine at the 2018
World Cup, said former Mexican national football player Miguel
Despite the importance of the World Cup, Espana
reiterated Mexico must maintain "a cool head" to prevail.
Espana, who played with his team during the 1986 World Cup in
Mexico, told Xinhua that the current squad must trust in the
speed, intelligence and ability of its players.
Mexico will line up on Sunday for its first game against
Germany, the reigning World Cup champions.
The "Tri", as the Mexican team is affectionately known, is in
Group F against Germany, Sweden and South Korea.
"The key to success for the Tri will be concentration in
conceding no goals ...," explained Espana.
When facing South Korea and Sweden, he advised that the team
must dominate the midfield to try and score.
Should all these elements come together, Espana said "Mexico
has high chances of going beyond the round of 16 matches."
"The main challenge facing the squad is for the team to be
‘complete,’ with the same idea, the same confidence and, that
way, face all the difficulties in their path," he added.
Espana, whose coaching career saw him take the Pumas UNAM, a
Mexican league football club, to the final of the Copa
Sudamericana in 2005, said that the Tri could do well, since 15
of the 23 players played at the Brazil 2014 World Cup.
"The strategy being developed and applied by the team at the
World Cup in Russia will be crucial.
"However, I think Mexico needs to know how to use its key
elements, such as Hirving Lozano and his characteristic speed,"
He named goalkeeper Memo Ochoa, midfielder Hector Herrera,
and striker Carlos Vela, as well as Lozano, as being key to
For Mexico, football represents happiness, emotion and
passion, as evidenced by the thousands of compatriots who travel
around the world to follow their team.
"I would tell the Tri to get passionate, to leave it all on
the pitch, to do it with happiness and pleasure to be able to
fully enjoy such an enriching career as football," he explained.
A few days ago, Mexican coach Juan Carlos Osorio told the
press he was optimistic and emotional.
"We are going to give our all ... we know the group well.
"Today, we have players in other positions and they are doing
"This gives us a great possibility of having a plan B and
"We will start the World Cup and the competition will be
fierce," he said.
Mexico will be hoping to get past the first round of the
knockout phase and make to the quarterfinals, something it has
not done since 1986.