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The odds for Mexico vs Qatar have been taken from the FanDuel sportsbook, where you can get a $1000 no-sweat first bet.
El Tri have made a fine start to the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2023 and they can register another victory here.
Mexico became the first team to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Gold Cup, as they made it two wins on the bounce under new coach Jimmy Lozano. Given the chaos of recent months, the last week or so has been a welcome tonic for fans of the national team.
To recap, El Tri crashed out in the group phase of World Cup 2022, finishing behind Argentina and Poland. It was the first time they had failed to make the knockout phase of the tournament since 1990, an edition from which they were banned.
Tata Martino paid for that failure with his job, a decision which came as a surprise to no one who had followed the team throughout his tenure. Less expected was the length of his successor’s time in charge: Diego Cocca lasted for just five months before being fired earlier this month.
The fatal match for Cocca was a 2-0 defeat by the USMNT in the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Nations League. The federation acted decisively, parting company with the Argentine and replacing him with Lozano on an interim basis.
If he carries on like this, the incumbent could land the job on a permanent basis. Mexico have made an excellent start to their Gold Cup campaign as they seek to win the tournament for a record-extending ninth time.
They kicked things off with a 4-0 thumping of Honduras, a team that is not at the peak of its powers but an established name in CONCACAF nonetheless. Next up was the 3-1 defeat of Haiti which sent Mexico through to the quarter-finals for the 17th consecutive Gold Cup.
Lozano has been like a breath of fresh air. It is still early days and bigger tests lie ahead, but a feel-good factor has returned to the Mexico camp. El Tri have silverware in their sights.
The Qatar national team spent more than a decade preparing for World Cup 2022, which it hosted last November and December. In the build-up to the tournament, they appeared as guests in the Copa America and the Gold Cup, as well as winning the Asian Cup in 2019.
Two years ago they reached the semi-finals of CONCACAF’s biennial tournament. Qatar finished top of a group containing Honduras, Panama, and Grenada, after which they overcame El Salvador 3-2 in the quarters. They were then narrowly beaten by the USMNT in the last four.
They will struggle to replicate that achievement this time around. Qatar lost their opening match 2-1 to Haiti, who notched a winning goal in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time. They then conceded another late goal in a 1-1 draw with Honduras.
That means Qatar must beat Mexico to stand a chance of going through to the knockout rounds - and even that will not be enough if Haiti are able to get the better of Honduras in a match which kicks off at the same time on Sunday.
Qatar will stage the Asian Cup at the beginning of next year after China pulled out of hosting the competition due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They still have something to build toward, then, but the Gold Cup has given Carlos Queiroz’s side little to cheer about so far.
Queiroz is an experienced international manager and he will be learning plenty about his team from their experience in the USA. But reaching the knockout phase now looks like a tall order.
Making predictions for the final round of group games at international tournaments is tricky when one team is already through. We do not know whether Lozano will select his strongest side on Sunday, or whether he will rest some of his main men ahead of the quarter-finals.
Mexico are not yet guaranteed to finish top of Group B, although they almost certainly will do so on account of a +7 superior goal difference to Haiti in second place. That makes the idea of rotation more attractive.
On the other hand, Mexico will be keen to maintain the momentum they have built up in victories over Honduras and Haiti. Lozano has got a good thing going and he may be wary of tinkering for this clash with Qatar.
In our opinion, the Mexico manager is unlikely to make wholesale changes to his starting XI. That means El Tri should have a strong side to face Qatar, who have been rather disappointing at the tournament to date.
With that in mind, we recommend backing the eight-time Gold Cup winners to emerge victorious on Sunday while keeping a clean sheet. A win to nil for the Mexicans is the way to go in this one.
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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