Get Lozano clicking, tackle protection


It is unlikely that the Mexico attacking trident of Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Jesus “Tecatito” Corona and Raul Jimenez will get a catchy nickname any time quickly. “RaLoCo” simply does not have a lot of a hoop. “JiCoLo” even much less so.

However even with out flashy branding, the prospect of Corona, Jimenez and Lozano turning into regulars for the Mexico males’s nationwide workforce constructing as much as the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is reassuring for El Tri. And this November worldwide break, through which Mexico faces South Korea (Saturday) and Japan (subsequent Tuesday) in Austria, sees all three within the squad for the primary time since September 2019.

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Lozano’s return is a considerable enhance to Mexico, significantly given the shape the 25-year-old is in for Napoli to date this season. In all of the latest debates round one of the best gamers from the CONCACAF area, Lozano’s title has been largely absent, however the confidence is again and after a dire 2019-20 in Italy, there are indicators that he might return to that dialog.

A big quantity of gratitude for Gerardo “Tata” Martino receiving a type of “Lozano 2.0” may be attributed to Gennaro Gattuso’s criticism paying dividends. The Napoli supervisor can typically be heard screaming “Chucky! Chucky!” on the sideline, coaxing the winger into enhancements by way of some powerful love. The Italian was vocal in indicating that Lozano needed to keep off the bottom extra and be stronger. Lozano stated after his help in Napoli’s 1-0 win over Bologna final weekend that Gattuso can be “raging” when telling the Mexican what he calls for, however that their relationship is now higher.

“The scenario has modified quite a bit for me, I’ve spoken to the coach and it is going nicely,” Lozano instructed Sky Sports activities. “Exhausting work has given me quite a bit. I spoke to Gattuso and all the pieces is nice.”

To his credit score, Lozano has taken on the problem and his 0.82 objectives per 90 minutes this season for Napoli, in comparison with 0.35 per video games in 2019-20, is testomony to that constructive response. The uncooked tempo, directness and talent to beat defenders haven’t gone anyplace, however the former Pachuca and PSV Eindhoven winger is now stronger bodily, extra conscious defensively and a extra rounded ahead, though it’s a course of.

“I’ve to enhance within the defensive half, I can do some extra, however that occurs daily, week by week,” added Lozano.

It is possible Martino will discipline Lozano on the left with Corona on the correct. The 2 large attackers match properly into the mould of what Martino is on the lookout for when it comes to his wingers having tempo, with the ability to beat defenders and possessing a objective risk.

Corona is within the type of his life, creating extra probabilities per recreation than another common participant within the Portuguese high division (2.89) to date this season with Porto. Corona confirmed what he is able to over the last worldwide break, each along with his objective and his work-rate when Mexico does not have the ball, which Martino went out of his solution to stress after his man of the match efficiency in opposition to the Netherlands final month.

Jimenez has maybe not been at his finest to date this season, however 4 objectives in eight video games for Wolverhampton Wanderers hasn’t been unhealthy. And if he can strike up an understanding with Lozano and Corona starting this break and increasing into 2021, Jimenez will not be wanting probabilities.

The opposite main enhance for Mexico coach Martino this month is the type of Hector Herrera, who appears to be profitable over Atletico Madrid supervisor Diego Simeone after a season of transition and rumors that he might transfer on within the final switch window.

“I wasn’t curious about leaving,” Herrera instructed ESPN in regards to the switch rumors. “I at all times stated I wished to be right here. I am the place I need to be … [Simeone] stated that I used to be a bit of extra tailored to what the workforce wants and desires.”

Alvarez, defensive set-up at vital juncture

The areas Martino must strengthen, or no less than begin to discover solutions to, lie elsewhere.

Edson Alvarez is without doubt one of the solely gamers within the depth chart who can play in a hybrid function as a holding midfielder dropping again in between defenders to create a again three when required. As a result of lack of choices, Alvarez has turn out to be a vital participant for Martino’s system, but it surely’s regarding that he isn’t began a recreation for Ajax because the final worldwide break, regardless of Erik ten Hag shifting round his beginning workforce and the Dutch aspect having 11 gamers out for his or her final Champions League conflict in opposition to FC Midtjylland resulting from COVID-19.

Cruz Azul’s Luis Romo is being groomed in that place by Martino, however Alvarez is a extra pure match and there will probably be eyes on him and particularly his confidence this worldwide break.

Additional ahead in Martino’s possible 4-3-3 formation, Andres Guardado‘s absence by way of harm — though he will probably be visiting the squad in Austria — leaves the door open in midfield for Membership America‘s Sebastian Cordova to step up.

The principle points with Cordova are his consistency — which America coach Miguel Herrera identified in an interview with ESPN’s Ahora o Nunca — and which place Martino sees him occupying, with the 23-year-old capable of play on the wing or inside as an attack-minded midfielder. If Martino sees him as an inside midfielder, which seems his most pure place, there could possibly be an attention-grabbing battle creating there doubtlessly between him, Carlos Rodriguez and the extra skilled Jonathan dos Santos for a spot changing Guardado.

The video games are one other alternative for Martino to take a look at the potential center-back partnerships, with the place nonetheless seemingly open. Hector Moreno impressed in October’s friendlies, however is 32 and taking part in in Qatar. Tigres’ Carlos Salcedo, a starter on the 2018 World Cup, can be again within the combine after lastly discovering kind — he’ll be competing with Monterrey‘s Cesar Montes, Celta Vigo‘s Nestor Araujo and, doubtlessly Chivas’ Gilberto Sepulveda, though the 21-year-old is probably going extra within the squad to realize expertise coaching beneath Martino.

Lastly, the full-back positions are an space that are not Mexico’s strongest, with Monterrey’s Jesus Gallardo possible on the left and Luis Rodriguez and Jorge Sanchez battling it out for the spot on the correct. Pachuca’s Erick Aguirre did not journey after reportedly testing constructive for COVID-19.

Rankings, not outcomes, are precedence this window

Saturday’s opponent South Korea hasn’t performed with a full squad since Paulo Bento’s workforce misplaced to Brazil 3-0 and tied 0-0 with Lebanon in Nov. 2019. Gamers equivalent to Hwang Hee-Chan (RB Leipzig), Lee Kang-In (Valencia) and Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur) have sufficient high quality to offer Mexico a take a look at defensively, however El Tri will probably be favourite in opposition to the Thirty eighth-ranked males’s workforce on this planet, in response to the FIFA rankings.

Subsequent Tuesday’s conflict with Japan ought to present a sterner take a look at. The highest-ranked Asian workforce beat Ivory Coast 1-0 after which drew 0-0 with Cameroon final month and boasts a squad completely made up of Europe-based gamers, together with Takefusa Kubo (Villarreal on mortgage from Actual Madrid), Takumi Minamino (Liverpool) and Maya Yoshida (Sampdoria).

Martino’s precedence proper now shouldn’t be primarily outcomes. The previous Atlanta United FC coach may be very a lot nonetheless within the molding course of forward of Qatar 2022. However behind the thoughts of these within the Mexican federation is the truth that Mexico is eleventh within the FIFA rankings and that the nationwide workforce is nearer to seventh-placed Uruguay proper now than Twelfth-placed Italy.

A few wins would prolong Martino’s file to 19 victories from 22 video games and certain transfer El Tri into the highest ten, growing the sense {that a} top-seed spot at Qatar is not past the realms of risk.



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