International friendly: Mexico vs Scotland – Lineups, Preview and Prediction
Mexico drew 0-0 midweek against Wales and now face Scotland in preparation for the World Cup.
01:00 BST, Sunday 3rd June, Azteca Stadium (Mexico City, Mexico)
Scotland will visit the Estadio Azteca over the weekend, looking to improve upon their disappointing 2-0 defeat against Peru.
Alex McLeish and his side have seen six players withdraw from the squad and Lewis Stevenson and Matt Phillips have now also left the squad making his ranks depleted.
Added to that, the fact that the Estadio Azteca is situation 2,200 metres above Sea Level, then it makes for a mountain of a task for McLeish’s men.
A 0-0 draw against a Gareth Bale-less Wales was not really the result Mexico were looking for to prepare for this summer’s World Cup.
There are positives though: Mexico have kept four clean sheets in their last six matches but have only scored four goals in their last four games.
With a full squad available to him after the game against Wales, Juan Carlos Osorio should stick with a similar lineup, hoping to iron out any problems in his side prior to their opening World Cup fixture against Germany.
With a couple of players leaving the squad after the first friendly against Peru, Alex McLeish will move Ollie McBurnie in as the lone striker and bring Graeme Shinnie in as left back to replace Lewis Stevenson.
Current FC Porto player Hector Herrera will be key to Mexico against Scotland and at this summer’s World Cup.
The powerful midfielder is the heartbeat of the Mexico side and makes them tick. He played 45 games for Porto this past season and has over 60 caps to his name for Mexico.
Former Derby player, Johnny Russell is now plying his trade in the MLS with Sporting Club Kansas City.
Russell has been very impressive so far in his first season in America as he has netted five goals already at this early stage of the season.
Russell has pace and trickery to hurt any team but the big knock on him is his productivity which often flatters to deceive.
Are Mexico good enough?
Question marks loom over Mexico and their credentials as a true contender at the World Cup. A difficult World Cup group where they will face Germany and Sweden means they are up against it to even get into the Round of 16.
Warm-up games are often seen as meaningless, but Mexico can not afford to think that way as they are desperately searching for some rhythm in the final third.
Can they start firing? They need to against Scotland.
With so many players with virtually no international experience, Scotland are treating these international games as a lesson for their players.
Against Peru, they lined up without a striker which hampered their ability to create. Ollie McBurnie could be given a chance against Mexico and that will make a difference to their attacking intent as they will have a focal point.
These games represent Scotland with a chance to experiment and figure out a system going forward for the European qualifiers in September.
Prediction: Mexico 1-0 Scotland
Mexico seems to flounder in front of goal but I do see them finding the net at least once against Scotland.
That will not be enough to calm the Mexico fans nerves heading into the World Cup, but at least they will have some momentum heading into the competition this summer.
Can Mexico start scoring? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.