Soccer

Mexico to rely on Chicharito

2013-06-11 21:01
Javier Hernandez (AFP)
Mexico City - Mexico's success at the Confederations Cup will depend primarily on the ability of Manchester United striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.

Chichartio has been Mexico's only reliable scorer in recent matches, scoring 32 goals in 47 games for Mexico — and five in Mexico's nine World Cup qualifying matches.

"He's a player who fights for every loose ball, and he has the knack of never giving up," Mexico coach Jose Manuel De la Torre said. "And he has a knack for scoring, too. He's a strong kid."

Mexico has played nine World Cup qualifiers. You have to go back to the third game to find a match that Mexico won — 2-0 over Costa Rica — without a goal from Hernandez. And in that match the goals came from defender Carlos Salcido and midfielder Jesus Zavala.

"Here it does not matter who scores, or who doesn't score," De la Torre said.

Despite his words, it does seem to matter.

At the Confederations Cup, Mexico will be without Oribe Peralta, who scored four goals in six matches last year when Mexico won Olympic gold in London. He will miss the Confederations Cup with a leg injury.

"Oribe is a very important player, but I have always said no player is indispensable," Mexico midfielder Victor Herrera said.

If Hernandez does not score, Mexico will be need goals from unexpected places — from a player like forward Aldo De Nigris of Monterrey.

Mexico's other top scoring threat is also absent — Carlos Vela of Spanish side Real Sociedad. Vela and De la Torre have had a falling out, with the coach saying Vela does not show 100 percent dedication to the national team.

Vela scored 14 goals this season with Real Sociedad, the third-best record for a Mexican playing in the Spanish league. Only Luis Garcia and Hugo Sanchez scored more.

De la Torre has looked around for someone to take the scoring pressure off Chichrito, but so far has failed.

As long as this continues, Mexico's fate at the Confederations Cup will essentially depend on the Manchester United striker.

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