JERSEY CITY, N.J. — To be pitted against Mexico — who steamrolled through the group stage — could seem daunting for just about any team. But that may be even more frightening for Guatemala, whose participation in the Gold Cup thus far hasn’t been anything out of the ordinary.
After tying Honduras and falling to Jamaica, the Chapines squeezed into the quarterfinals by routing Grenada. And even when Guatemala’s numbers, both in this edition of the Gold Cup and historically, don’t necessarily favor them, head coach Ever Hugo Almeida says the biggest mistake his team could make is to feel beaten even before kickoff.
“If we’re going to think that we’re going to go in and lose, we’re just going to leave directly from [training] and return to Guatemala,” said Almeida following Wednesday’s training session. “Mexico have played well, they’re a good team, but what I don’t accept is that we’re viewed as losers before even playing. I don’t know why they’re making us for dead. We’re well alive.”
The Paraguayan tactician acknowledged Mexico’s might, calling them the best in CONCACAF, yet he believes Guatemala have what it takes to pull off the upset on Saturday.
“Mexico are powerful,” said Almeida. “They have a brilliant squad and I think the manager [José Manuel de la Torre] has been guiding them well because they’ve won … with ease. Of course they can beat us, but we still have to play the match and see what we can do. We respect Mexico … but we’re not dead.”
Almeida’s strategy to upset El Tri? Quite simple: “Score more goals.”