The relationship between Gerardo Martino and the Mexican fans is broken and not even Tri’s virtual qualification for the Qatar 2022 World Cup has been able to straighten it out. One of the most important reasons is the low offensive productivity during these qualifiers, which is reflected in just two goals from set pieces in the last 360 minutes, a situation that has put under intense criticism not only Martino, but also attackers who, once, used to receive the affection of the public, such as Raúl Jiménez, Hirving Lozano and Jesús Manuel Corona.
Mexico will face El Salvador in the last day of qualifying for Qatar 2022 and a draw is enough to secure their direct pass, avoiding the intercontinental playoff against the Oceania champion. El Tri has the task of convincing its public in its last official match before the World Cup, because with the exception of the 3-0 victory on October 10 over Honduras, all its Octagonal matches at the Azteca stadium have not been for more of a difference goal, which caused discomfort in the stands against rivals of lesser weight, on paper, such as Jamaica and Panama.
“With this, what is fundamentally marked, in a process that takes almost 40 months, is that we have not been constant in the performance of the team in general. During much of the process we have received many goals and now we have a tie where they have only scored eight goals, it is true that along with the lack of goals we have achieved important defensive security, but I think it is about being a team much more balanced, that the current lack of force does not last and we can recover the rhythm of goals that we had for a long time, especially in the first year and a half (of his management) “, Gerardo Martino mentioned in a conference prior to the duel against The Savior.
According to figures from the specialized data site, Statiskicks, the starting Mexican offensive trident in these qualifying rounds, made up of Raúl Jiménez, Hirving Lozano and ‘Tecatito’ Corona, has had 57 shots in 13 of the 14 days, but his rate of conversion has been barely 7%. On the contrary, the United States offense has an effectiveness of 24% and Canada’s 27%.
During the tie against Qatar, the trio of Jiménez, Lozano and Corona accumulated four goals and five assists; in contrast, only Canada’s two starting center forwards, Jonathan David and Cyle Larin, have 22 goals and seven assists, although it should be noted that Canada played five more games before entering the Octagonal Final.
On the part of the United States, which, like Mexico, has only played the Octagonal, its highest scoring trident is made up of Christian Pulisic, Ricardo Pepi and Brenden Aaronson, who add 10 goals and four assists, even with Pulisic showing off with a hat- trick in the penultimate qualifying round against Panama.
“We always say that the confidence of the footballers comes largely from the confidence they bring from their clubs and, in this sense, the boys are clearly evolving. We can work on the definition, of course, but we have a series of issues that happen to us in the last 25 meters that not only have to do with that: it is the unmarking, the calm, the last pass, because there are not so many situations of goal that we wasted but there is a lot of last passes where we did not choose well or we did not hit the clearance or reception. It’s a host of things, it’s not just about putting the ball into the goal”, Martino analyzed regarding the lack of goals at the Octagonal, especially playing at home.
While the Canadian Cyle Larin is the top scorer in Concacaf in the tie against Qatar with 13 goals, in the Mexican team the maximum figure is two goals for Raúl Jiménez, Alexis Vega and Henry Martín; then there are nine players tied with one goal, including ‘Tecatito’ Corona, Hirving Lozano and Rogelio Funes Mori.
But for the Mexican coach, the solution to this offensive inefficiency could come from the duel against El Salvador, in which the pass to the World Cup would be assured and, consequently, he visualizes a relaxation of the players, important for the seven months that will remain as preparation prior to the start of Qatar 2022.
“Undoubtedly, when a team has a drop in performance and is also playing very important things, such as going to a World Cup, there is a risk of falling in love with the results and leaving performance in the background (… ) In the case of a tie, this need for results is making us lose a little the need to rediscover ourselves with our best football. I think that the definitive classification will allow us to play a little better, recover the performance and the form of play that the team used to have and that will surely be very beneficial for the future”.
Although the offensive individuals have been left to their own devices, the figures for Mexico are not so far from those obtained in all the qualifiers since the Hexagonal or Octagonal format has been played in Concacaf. Until the penultimate day towards Qatar 2022, El Tri has 15 goals in favor, while heading to Russia 2018 he closed with 16, clarifying that in that process only 10 games were played.
The worst offensive figure was recorded towards Brazil 2014 with only seven goals for and nine against, while the best balance was towards France 1998 with 23 and seven, respectively. As for top Mexican scorers, the record is held by Jared Borgetti with 14 in the process to Germany 2006, followed by Carlos Hermosillo with 11 for France 1998 and the most recent is Oribe Peralta with 10 heading to Brazil 2014.
In this sense, Gerardo Martino is confident that the last semester before the World Cup, when the 2022-23 football season begins in the summer, will allow his attackers to regain confidence and goals, with the task of raising their performance in the Qatari tournament. .
“Both Raúl (Jiménez) and Hirving (Lozano) had a very complicated last half with two quite unusual injuries for today’s soccer, with a complex evolution and above all with a long time away from the fields. That undoubtedly has a cost, so to the extent that they can have continuity and finish the football year (2021-22) healthy, have a good preseason and re-establish themselves at the beginning of the next season with total normality, surely we will meet again in the second semester the best version of them to offer both to their clubs and to the national team”.
If Mexico achieves at least a draw against El Salvador, it will achieve its eighth consecutive qualification for a World Cup, since it has not been absent since the United States 1994. That is the sixth longest active streak in terms of World Cup qualifications, only surpassed by South Korea , whose last absence was in Spain 1982; Spain, in Germany 1974; Argentina, in Mexico 1970; Germany, in Brazil 1950; and Brazil, which has qualified for all editions.