MX23RW : Wednesday, September 29 02:52:30| >> :120:38014:38014:
Jul 30, 2021 at 3am UK at NRG Stadium
MexicoMexico
2-1
CanadaCanada
Pineda (45+2' pen.), Herrera (90+9')
Gutierrez (68'), Gallardo (79')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Buchanan (57')
Henry (45'), Buchanan (49'), Hoilett (49'), Crepeau (90+12')

Preview: Mexico vs. Canada - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's CONCACAF Gold Cup clash between Mexico and Canada, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Mexico will look to advance to their second successive Gold Cup final on Thursday when they take on Canada in the first semi-final at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Both teams had dominating performances in the quarter-finals as the reigning champions beat Honduras 3-0, while the Canucks took care of Costa Rica with a 2-0 win.


Match preview

Mexico forward Henry Josue Martin celebrates scoring on July 1, 2021© Reuters

As this tournament has gone on, the Mexicans have only got better, and they are coming off perhaps their most complete performance of the competition, handing Honduras their worst loss since 2019 and advancing to a seventh straight Gold Cup semi-final.

They were on the attack early against La H and were relentless throughout the match, as they capitalised on some great opportunities, scoring two goals after only a half-hour before going up by three by half-time.

As clinical as they were in front of goal on Saturday, scoring on half of their shots on target (three out of six), their defence continues to impress, allowing only six shots against Honduras, as they have yet to concede a goal in four matches at the Gold Cup.

This is the first time since the 2003 tournament where El Tri have made the semi-finals of this competition without conceding a goal.

Gerardo Martino and his team have done a splendid job in limiting their opponents' chances, as they have not allowed a goal in seven successive fixtures.

While Mexico are certainly no stranger to making it to a Gold Cup semi-final, they have faced some stiff challenges in their previous campaigns.

They lost to a late Jamaican strike at this stage in 2017, 1-0, and they needed extra time to advance to the final in 2015 and 2019 versus Panama and Haiti, respectively, so getting through to the final has been by no means a cakewalk.

Canada manager John Herdman pictured June 24, 2019© Reuters

The Canadians made a real statement in their quarter-final victory over Costa Rica that they are an elite team in CONCACAF who should be respected.

They came into this competition minus their top two offensive weapons in Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David, but this group have not missed a beat without them, scoring 10 goals over four games in this tournament so far.

John Herdman saw his team come out aggressively against Los Ticos, as his group of youngsters put their opponents on their heels for much of the game, scoring within the first 20 minutes and eventually coasting to a relatively comfortable 2-0 victory.

Unlike their previous quarter-final appearance at the Gold Cup versus Haiti, this time around, the Canadians looked more than comfortable with the lead as they kept their composure against a side vastly more experienced than them, and they thoroughly deserved the victory.

Those defensive miscues and slow starts that we saw in the group stage did not materialise in the quarter-finals, so Herdman and his side have to be feeling as confident as they could, preparing to face a team in Mexico who they have not beaten in over 21 years.

The last time Canada defeated the Mexicans was at this same tournament back in the 2000 quarter-finals when Richard Hastings scored the sudden death golden goal in a 2-1 win, as the Canucks went on to win the Gold Cup for the first and only time to date.

This will only be their fourth trip to the final four of this competition, but they have competed hard at this stage in the past, narrowly losing to the USA 2-1 in 2007, falling in a penalty shootout to the Americans in 2002 and beating Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 in 2000.

Mexico CONCACAF Gold Cup form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Mexico form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Canada CONCACAF Gold Cup form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Canada form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W



Team News

Mexico head coach Gerardo Martino pictured in September, 2019© Reuters

The Mexicans made two changes to their starting 11 for the quarter-finals, with Nestor Araujo starting in central defence in place of Carlos Salcedo, while Jonathan dos Santos played in midfield instead of Erick Gutierrez.

Defender Alan Cervantes made his Gold Cup debut against Honduras, playing the final nine minutes of that match, while attacking midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro made his first international appearance since March, replacing Jesus Corona in the second half.

Rogelio Funes Mori scored his third goal of the competition and leads the Mexicans in that department, while Orbelin Pineda scored his second of the tournament and dos Santos notched his first.

Hirving Lozano is out with a concussion, while Alan Pulido has come on as a substitute in every match of the Gold Cup and right-back Luis Rodriguez has played in every minute of every game for Mexico at this competition.

Orlando City forward Tesho Akindele was added to the Canadian roster for their quarter-final fixture with Costa Rica after Cyle Larin was ruled out for the rest of this competition with a minor muscle injury.

Junior Hoilett got the game-winning goal in the last eight, becoming the first Canadian to score in two Gold Cup quarter-finals (2017, 2021).

Stephen Eustaquio became the fourth player in the national team's history to score in three different matches at the Gold Cup, joining Carlo Corazzin, Jonathan David, and Lucas Cavallini, who all did it previously.

Herdman, who tied former Canadian manager Bob Lenarduzzi for the most all-time wins for the men's team (21), made four changes to their starting lineup in the last eight as Eustaquio started in midfield alongside Mark-Anthony Kaye, while Hoilett played in attack, replacing the injured Ayo Akinola, who is out for the tournament, and Jonathan Osorio moved into an attacking role replacing Larin.

Mexico possible starting lineup:
Talavera; Rodriguez, Moreno, Salcedo, Gallardo; Dos Santos, Alvarez, Gutierrez; Pineda, Funes Mori, Corona

Canada possible starting lineup:
Crepeau; Miller, Vitoria, Johnston; Laryea, Osorio, Eustaquio, Buchanan; Hoilett; Cavallini, Akindele


SM words green background

We say: Mexico 2-0 Canada

Even though they have had their share of struggles at this stage of the competition, the Mexicans know what it takes to get past this point, and they have an answer to everything the Canadians can throw at them.

This may be the best chance Canada have had of beating Mexico in quite some time, but they always seem to be intimidated when facing El Tri, having lost four of their five Gold Cup meetings against them while being outscored 17-4 over that stretch.


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