CALIFORNIA (Sporting Alert) — CONCACAF giants and defending champions Mexico, without several of its senior players, will go in search of an opening group victory against Panama in the 2013 Gold Cup tournament at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, here on Sunday.
Mexico and Panama Live CONCACAF Gold Cup | Watch Live Stream Mexico v Panama on Fox Soccer 2Go.
Sunday 7 July 2013 – (8:30 p.m. ET) Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
The Mexicans will be without a number of its first string players, including Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez, who has been given more off, following his long season with the English Premier League last season and his participation in the recently concluded FIFA Confederation Cup in Brazil.
Head coach José Manuel de la Torre, who is under pressure for better results, has decided to include a number of the players, who were part of the successful gold medal team at the 2012 London Olympics.
Amongst them are Jorge Enriquez, Marco Fabián, Israel Jimenez, Darvin Chavez, Javier Cortes, Raúl Jiménez and Miguel Ponce.
“I like to see other players in competition because it is the only way to know if we are able to face what’s coming,” said De la Torre.
“I want internal competition and need to know what we are made of to face adverse situations.”
Sunday’s game is expected to be a challenging one for the Mexicans as Panama, currently still in the running for a World Cup qualifying place from the CONCACAF region, isn’t planning on making the tournament just a routine runout for players.
Panama admits that Mexico will be the toughest opponents in Group A, but also believe that the two other teams, Canada and Martinique will be very challenging oppositions as well.
“The three opponents in the first round will be very difficult,” said coach Julio Dely Valdés.
“Mexico has a base which had a great participation in the Olympics, Canada we know well and is difficult, meanwhile we don’t know much about Martinique, although it’s always complicated against Caribbean teams.”