Mexico will try to pick up the pieces from a disappointing 2022 World Cup as they take on Suriname in CONCACAF Nations League play on Thursday.
El Tri crashed out of the World Cup group stage as Argentina and Poland advanced to the Round of 16 ahead of them. That left head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino without a job, and the national team searching for answers with less than four years before they serve as joint hosts of the 2026 event.
An opening goal from Johan Vasquez and and own-goal down the stretch were enough to put Mexico through to the top of their CONCACAF Nations League group, but it wasn’t exactly pretty. El Tri were bested by Suriname, ranked 139th in the world, through the first half, and were lucky not to enter the locker room trailing. Even after halftime, Suriname looked the side most likely to score, but just could not produce the final ball, coming up short in front of goal.
Eventually, Mexico’s talent and fitness saw them take control of the match, and while they still couldn’t truly dominate the match, they were more ruthless in front of goal. Vasquez got a slight touch to a free-kick delivery after the hour mark to take the lead, and Roberto Alvarado was on hand for a tap-in with eight minutes to go in the match, with his tap-in actually coming off a defender to officially go down as an own-goal.
A second-half goal from Johan Vasquez and an own-goal from Suriname’s Damil Dankerlui helped Mexico overcome a shaky start to CONCACAF Nations League group stage play before settling in for the victory.
The result sealed qualification for Mexico in the 2023 Gold Cup, but it began as a tense one for an El Tri side that found themselves defending a number of early shots from Suriname.
Mexico took control back in the second half and now need only a draw against Jamaica on Sunday to top Group A and earn a spot in the semifinals of the Nations League in June.
Former Atlas and Tijuana coach Cocca took over the Mexico job after Gerrardo Martino stepped aside following the team’s group-stage exit from the World Cup.
The last time these sides met was in this very same group stage on June 11, 2022 when El Tri cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win. Goals came from Israel Reyes, Henry Martin, and Erick Sanchez as the Mexicans outshot Suriname 22-6 overall, controlling 59% of possession.
Mexico should be all but guaranteed the win here, even on the road, as they look to regain control of the group and advance to the semifinals. Back Diego Cocca’s side to get the win.
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