Fresh from a 2-0 victory over Wales, Mexico’s senior national team faces Bosnia in a friendly in Chicago on Thursday night (9 p.m. EST).
With the match played on an official FIFA date, both countries are expected to field their strongest possible sides.
Mexico will be boosted by the return of Manchester United striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, who joined up with the national team in Chicago on Monday night.
Hernandez dismissed speculation that he had chosen not to take part in the London 2012 Olympic Games, insisting the decision was made by his club manager Sir Alex Ferguson and national squad director Hector Gonzalez Iñarritu.
“I have nothing to clarify because honestly what Hector told you all is the same as what he told me and what my coach told me,” Hernandez said on Tuesday. “I never am going to turn down the national team. I think I’ve said more than enough on the matter.”
Those picked will be desperate to consolidate their place in the team as coach Jose Manuel de la Torre is using Mexico’s U.S. tour to prepare for the Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifiers which begin next month.
Mexico ends its warm-up with a mouthwatering sold-out tie against Brazil on Sunday, but must first dispatch of a less glamorous opponent in Chicago’s 61,000 capacity Soldier Field stadium.
Having failed to qualify for Euro 2012, Bosnia-Herzegovina currently sits 27th in FIFA’s world rankings, seven places below Mexico. The two countries last met in Atlanta in February 2011, with El Tri triumphing 2-0 courtesy of an Edgar Pacheco strike and a Miralem Pjanic own goal.
Captained by Sevilla defender Emir Spahic, Bosnia also boasts Premier League winner Edin Dzeko within its ranks. The powerful Manchester City forward will provide a stern test of Mexico’s defense.
Taking part in France’s annual Toulon Tournament ahead of the London Olympics, Mexico’s under-23 side came back from 1-0 down to beat Belarus 2-1 on Monday. Victory was enough to set up a semifinal against the Netherlands to be played Wednesday at 2 p.m. EST.
Unsurprisingly, both goals came from the tournament’s top scorer, Marco Fabian. The Chivas de Guadalajara midfielder has scored all six of Mexico’s goals (the seventh being an own-goal by Zouhair Feddal of Morocco) in the last three games.
A summer move to Europe surely beckons if Fabian can continue his strong form in front of a worldwide audience at the Olympics.
With Fabian attracting interest from clubs in the English Premier League and Spain’s La Liga, reports in the Mexican media suggest his market value has shot up to six million dollars.
“I’ve had an English scout come talk to me,” Fabian confirmed. “It’s not distracting me, my mind is set on doing things right, showing what I’m capable of and helping the team win the [Toulon] championship.”
By Duncan Tucker (@DuncanTucker)
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