UNION, N.J. — Even when on paper Mexico look to be the shark and Guatemala the minnow, El Tri aren’t about to let their heads get big. Instead, they say they’re wary of the Chapines.
According to left back Carlos Salcido, in a crucial stage like that of the Gold Cup quarterfinals, it’s hard to take an opponent lightly, especially when they’ve proven to be a motivated bunch.
“[We’re favorites], but only on paper, that’s the reality of it,” he said at training on Thursday. “The memory I have of facing Guatemala is that the last game we played against them, they beat us.”
In that match back in October 2007, Guatemala knocked out a Hugo Sánchez-led Mexico by a score of 2-1. That’s why Salcido (pictured above in that match, to the left of the official) is aware of the challenge the Chapines bring to the table and the reason why he says Mexico are focused on the task at hand.
“We all know that we’re in a stage of straight elimination, so we’re going to face Guatemala with all the respect they deserve,” said Salcido. “We want to stay in the Gold Cup, stay on course, and hopefully on Saturday, we’ll have good luck.”
According to Salcido’s partner on the left flank, Andrés Guardado, the key for Mexico will lie in finishing their chances — something they’ve not had much trouble doing recently — to keep Guatemala from making things difficult.
“Guatemala have had a great group stage, that’s why they’re here now,” said Guardado. “We’ll simply try to do things the way we’ve been doing them. We’ll study their characteristics and their strengths to counter them … and then we’ll try to stay on point at the time of attack.”