DALLAS — With less than 48 hours before Mexico kick off their participation in the Gold Cup, captain Rafa Márquez said he’s fully fit and ready to help El Tri capture a sixth crown in the regional championship.
After missing the last two tune-up matches against Ecuador and New Zealand due to a pulled groin, Márquez hopes to snatch a starting spot on Sunday, when Mexico face El Salvador in the opening day of the Gold Cup (8 pm ET, Univisión).
“I’ve been training with the team and I think that not playing [on Wednesday vs. New Zealand] was a precautionary measure,” said Márquez. “But the important game is on Sunday, so I hope I’m in the lineup. The team’s medical staff didn’t want to risk it to have me ready for Sunday, so I’m very well now.”
Israel Castro has been the man filling in for Márquez at holding midfielder, pairing up with Gerardo Torrado against both Ecuador and New Zealand. Because of that, Márquez said it will be up to Mexico head coach José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre whether the Red Bulls man will be included against El Salvador.
When asked about Mexico’s chances of defending the title they won against the United States in 2009, Márquez said that El Tri’s key to success will be to implement the same aggressive style they displayed two years ago and one they’ve been showing for a few years now.
“The style that we’ve displayed for a few years now [is to be aggressive], and that style will prevail for now,” said Márquez. “So we’re going to try and play that way in this Gold Cup.
“I think we have to play our way, as we’ve always done, and not play a style that’s not ours and one that our rivals want us to play,” he added. “El Salvador won’t play as New Zealand did, so we’ll have to try to impose our style and maybe adapt [to El Salvador].”