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Onto the final four of the Concacaf Nations League!
Delayed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition is now set to return this week with the semifinal round kicking off on Thursday.
Mexico, heading into the semis, will be in excellent form with only one loss in their last eight games since 2020.
|Up against Costa Rica, who almost missed out on the current round, Mexico will have no excuses in their chase of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League title. Costa Rica have provided some surprises in the past but should ultimately prove to have too many question marks on Thursday.|
|Mexico vs Costa Rica Information|
|Teams||Mexico vs Costa Rica|
|Location||Empower Field at Mile High (Denver, Colorado)|
|Time||Thursday, June 3rd at 10:00 pm ET|
|How to Watch||Univision, TUDN, Paramount+|
Before we dive into Mexico, why not Costa Rica?
While optimists can point out that the Central Americans have a track record of being a David to the Goliaths of the soccer world, pessimists could easily note their current form in the Nations League.
Of the four semifinalists, the Costa Ricans are easily the worst with only one win in their four group stage matches.
Thanks to their three draws, they were able to clinch the top spot of Group D in the previous Nations League round with only four goals scored and six points in hand.
And since the end of their group stage run in the Nations League, Costa Rica have been dismal with five losses and two draws in their seven friendlies that have followed.
That’s good news for Mexico — especially when you consider how easily and frequently they steamroll through the local competition.
As the lone semifinalist to go 4-0-0 in the group stage, it’s not much of a shock to highlight how well Mexico have done against North American opponents.
With more Concacaf Gold Cup titles than any other country, Mexico have dominated the region in international competitions before the start of the inaugural and current Nations League tournament.
When facing Costa Rica, Mexico are also undefeated in their last seven games against the Central Americans.
The last time that Costa Rica defeated the Concacaf giants was back in 2013.
Their scoring issues aren’t just apparent in the group stage run of the Nations League.
After scoring just four times in their four games in Group D, Costa Rica have gone on to only find the back of the net twice in their last seven matches.
It’s a worrisome trend.
With many of their leading goalscorers now in their 30s, new solutions to their problems in the attack have been difficult to find.
It’ll be tough for Costa Rica, and in their last meeting with Mexico in March, they were once again scoreless in a 1-0 defeat.
There’s no lack of chance creators or finishers for Mexico, but amongst their deep pool of talent, one easily stands out: Hirving “Chucky” Lozano.
Recently wrapping up a season abroad in Italy with Serie A’s Napoli, the 25-year-old winger has a mesmerizing amount of pace and agility that very few could keep up with.
Coupled with his dribbling, and also his positioning that has improved significantly, Chucky is an incredibly threatening player that has the ability to be one of the very best in the world.
After scoring twice for Mexico in a friendly last week, he’ll also have plenty of confidence as well.
Keep an eye on the young Mexican who will be sure to have a headline-stealing moment or two this week in the Nations League semis.
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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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