Mexico and Peru meet in an international friendly in San Francisco on Wednesday with both teams hoping to discover players capable of making the step up to aid their attempts to qualify for next year’s World Cup.
With the match at Candlestick Park not falling on an official FIFA international date, Mexico and Peru have called up players who are exclusively domestically based, with the exception of three Peruvians not involved with their first teams abroad,
For Mexico, it is a match that has become increasingly important due to their poor start to the final round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying. Expected to secure their place in Brazil at a canter, El Tri have begun with three straight draws in the Hexagonal, including uninspiring goalless affairs at home to both Jamaica and, last month, great rivals the United States.
After the recent success of Mexico’s youth sides, there is now significant pressure on senior coach Jose Manuel de la Torre, with many questioning whether he is the right man to lead the nation forward.
De la Torre has still selected a strong squad, featuring regulars like Francisco Rodriguez and Jorge Torres Nilo. The coach, though, has urged the fresh faces to seize their opportunity to impress.
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“If they have been called up is it because we’ve seen qualities in them to be here,” De la Torre said, according to Goal.com. “But they can’t wait for a second opportunity, they ought to take the first because they don’t know if they’ll get another.”
Peru will also be using the fixture to prepare for upcoming World Cup qualifiers. A 1-0 win over Chile last month has given Sergio Markarian’s side an outside chance of getting to their first World Cup since 1982. The team is currently seventh of the nine South American teams, four points off of a playoff spot.
Cristian Benavente of Real Madrid’s B side, Castilla, is one of three European-based players included in the squad. The midfielder is expected to make his debut for his country.
Prediction: Mexico still have plenty of quality in their squad and, with the likes of Hector Herrera, Angel Reyna and Jesus Corona looking to impress to earn a starting berth for the next qualifiers, El Tri should get the win in front of what is sure to be heavy support in San Francisco.
Mexico 2-1 Peru
Where to watch: The international friendly will kick-off from Candlestick Park at 11 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by ESPN2, with a live stream available on ESPN3.