World Cup nearly quarters men Mexico and Chile face off
It has been almost two months since the World Cup final, and Mexico and Chile prepare for their first game after early relatively knockouts, against each other in a friendly in California.
Both sides came agonisingly close to reaching the quarter-finals in Brazil, but eventually succumbed to losses to the Netherlands after two late goals and to the hosts on penalties respectively.
It is 2015 Copa America hosts Chile who go into this battle as favourites, 21/10 to win, with Miguel Herrera’s Mexico, who will also compete next summer, less fancied at 5/2.
The last time the duo faced each other was almost exactly three years ago, with El Tri winning 1-0, though. Eccentric Herrera, who recently signed a new four-year contract, is an 11/1 chance to lead his side to recording that scoreline again.
Goals don’t come often in this fixture, however, with no side netting more than twice in the last 18 head-to-heads. Back a low score count again, with odds of 11/4 to be under 1.5, or odds-on at 10/11 to be below 2.5.
In four of their last six meetings with Chile, the Aztecs have scored exactly one goal, and are priced favourably at 7/5 to do so again.
Mexico will be without new Real Madrid striker Javier Hernandez, who hopes to emulate his compatriot Hugo Sanchez, but can count on Oribe Peralta, who netted the only goal in the 1-0 win over Cameroon at the World Cup.
Legendary defensive player Rafael Marquez has not been called up either, after his move back to Europe with Serie A side Hellas Verona. New Atletico Madrid forward Raul Jimenez has also not been included.
There may be a first cap in line for exciting attacker Erick Torres, who plays for Chicharito’s former side Guadalajara (on loan at affiliate club Chivas USA). Former full back Herrera, meanwhile, has also decided to call up other debutants (all defenders) Oswaldo Alanís, Luis Venegas and another Miguel (Angel) Herrera.
Chile’s Argentine boss Jorge Sampaoli, who has also extended his contract to 2018, has called up some new names to the senior national side as well. Domestic-based young trio Sebastian Martínez, Martín Rodríguez and Juan Delgado will have have the chance to earn their first cap.
Sampaoli can rely on the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Eduardo Vargas, Gary Medel and Mauricio Isla, who have all found new clubs this summer. Arturo Vidal, whose side Juventus managed to hold on to him, is also available.