Mexico will be looking to put injury disappointments behind them and continue the positive momentum from victory over Ecuador when his side takes on Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday evening.
Despite a 3-1 win over fellow World Cup participants Ecuador, the main talking points afterward concerned a horrific injury to Luis Montes and a knock to Rafa Marquez that forced the team’s captain to pay a visit to hospital. Just minutes after scoring a spectacular goal to put Mexico in front, Montes broke the tibia and fibula in right leg and will now miss the World Cup. To great relief, there is better news regarding Marquez, whose foot injury is expected to see him recover in time to take on Portugal on Friday in what will be Mexico’s final friendly before their World Cup campaign begins on June 13.
Herrera tried to move on from the problems on Monday as he welcomed Javier Aquino to the squad as Montes’s replacement. The fact that Marco Fabian came off the bench for Montes against Ecuador and scored a superb goal also breeds a sense of optimism om the face of Monte’ personal disappointment. While now a likely starter in Brazil, Fabian will have to bide his time form the bench against Bosnia in Chicago as Herrera gives opportunities to several of his fringe players to impress.
In the midfield Jose Juan Vazquez will get his chance to stake a claim for the still open defensive midfield slot, while the man who occupied the role against Ecuador, Hector Herrera, moves further forward. Miguel Ponce will make his first start of these warm-up games at left wing-back, with Miguel Layun moving over to the right. Meanwhile, Herrera will complete his look at the three goalkeepers vying to start at the World Cup when Alfredo Talavera gets a chance to stake his claim over Jesus Corona and Guillermo Ochoa.
Further intrigue comes up front, where the battle continues to see who will partner Oribe Peralta (although with the recent Club America signing having now gone three internationals without a goal, there remains a slim possibility that a whole new partnership could yet be born). After Giovani dos Santos’ goal against Ecuador, Raul Jimenez and Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez will look to stake their claim.
Doubt has also been raised about the makeup of Bosnia’s attack ahead of their opening match against Argentina. Edin Dzeko and Stuttgart’s Vedad Ibisevic scored 18 goals between them in qualifying, but in a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast on Friday coach Safet Susic opted for to bolster his midfield and leave Dzeko alone up front. The Manchester City striker still scored twice and if Ibisevic is restored on Tuesday, with Roma’s brilliant playmaker Miralem Pjanic pulling the strings in behind, then the defensive side of Mexico’s game, which remains a work in progress, will get a stiff examination.
Susic has elected to play to Bosnia’s strengths, meaning that a less than secure defense is left vulnerable. It will be even more so against Mexico, with Ermin Bicakic again ruled out. Captain and fellow central defender Emir Spahic is expected to be fit after only being taken off against Ivory Coast as a precaution.
Mexico XI (as announced by coach Miguel Herrera)
D: Reyes, Salcido, Moreno
M: Layun, Herrera, Vazquez, Pena, Ponce
F: Hernandez, Jimenez
Where to watch: The international friendly will kick off from Soldier Field at 9:30 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by ESPN2, with a live stream available on Watch ESPN.