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It hasn’t been a bad start to Concacaf’s final round of World Cup qualifying for either Mexico or Canada.
Mexico, with two wins and one draw, are currently leading the “Octagonal” with seven points in hand.
Just below them with five points — through one win and two draws — sit Canada.
There’s a lot of excitement regarding the future of Canadian soccer, and with names like Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David leading the change, it’s a promising moment.
That said, Canada don’t have the same depth as Mexico, and away from their more chilly home ground, they’ll have issues at the Estadio Azteca.
WIth a home field advantage and a key player returning, looks towards Mexico.
Pick Mexico for the win. (-205)
|Mexico vs Canada Information|
|Teams||Mexico vs Canada|
|Location||Estadio Azteca (Mexico City, Mexico)|
|Time||Thursday, October 7th at 6:40pm PT/9:40pm ET|
|How to Watch||Univision, TUDN|
As mentioned earlier, Canada do deserve credit for what they are building within their next generation of players.
Davies is a world-class player and David is a star-in-the-making. Elsewhere, Tajon Buchanan, Liam Miller and Stephen Eustaquio are fascinating figures with high ceilings.
It’s a thrilling time when thinking of their future, but the question remains whether they alone can help get three points against a Concacaf giant like Mexico.
Most importantly, Canada will not only need to make the trip down to the Azteca, but will also now be facing a Mexico side that will be featuring their top striker.
Simply put, nobody within Mexico’s forward setup was able to properly take charge during Raul Jimenez’s absence over the last year.
Since suffering a horrific injury and needing several months to recover, Jimenez has watched on the sidelines while names like Henry Martin and Rogelio Funes Mori have been underwhelming.
Jimenez is now fully fit, and after recently returning to the pitch for Wolves in the English Premier League — and scoring a goal — he’s now ready to make his mark for Mexico.
It’ll be a triumphant return for Jimenez, especially after being gone for so long.
And up top, he could be the exact missing piece of the puzzle that they have needed for far too long.
In a man-for-man best XI, Canada aren’t too different from Mexico.
Boosted by Davies’ presence, Canada should be able to keep up for most of the 90 minutes at the Azteca this week.
Nonetheless, the difference here between the two is the depth and backup options that Mexico manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino will have available.
Depending on who starts, Martino can have game-changing late substitute appearances for talented names like Alexis Vega, Orbelin Pineda, Sebastian Cordova and others.
Canada’s bench isn’t at the same level, and although they’ll likely make this battle a tough one, they also don’t have enough firepower from their backups to clinch a win.
Let’s not forget Hirving “Chucky” Lozano either.
Were it not for Jimenez’s return from a lengthy injury, most of the headline stories in Mexico would cover Lozano’s own recovery and recent comeback on the pitch.
At the top of his abilities, you won’t find any other player within Mexico’s setup that has the same pace, creativity or drive as the 26-year-old Napoli winger.
Now back in the mix, he should be able to develop a lethal partnership with Jimenez up top as they seek to claim another victory in World Cup qualifying.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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