MOSCOW (Reuters) - Underdogs Mexico are ready to cause a major upset and beat Germany for the first time in a tournament on Sunday, provided the central Americans realize the World Cup clash is just another football game, coach Juan Carlos Osorio said.
Brimming with confidence ahead of their World Cup Group F opener in Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, Osorio conceded the four-times world champions were tournament favorites but said his team was in with a chance.
“If we are going to play in a neutral stadium, with everything that is around the World Cup then I think Mexico can win against Germany,” he told reporters on Saturday.
“Those (Mexican) players playing in the World Cup for the first time need to understand that this is just another football game.”
Germany have lost just once in 11 matches against Mexico and have beaten them in all five of their meetings at major international tournaments, including a 4-1 drubbing in last year’s Confederations Cup.
The Germans are also renowned for delivering when it matters and have a stellar tournament record that includes at least a semi-final spot in every World Cup since 2002.
“There is no doubt that the Germans are very, very efficient. When they get to the goal, they have very good strikers. They are all really, really fast but we will not change our style of play,” Osorio said.
“Not only for me but for all the players, if it is not the most important it is one of the top three matches (of their careers). It is a great opportunity for Mexican football to compete against the world champions and that is what we will try to do.
“If we understand that tomorrow is just a normal football match, we have great chances.”
But Osorio’s team has been criticized for some of their performances since qualifying, including a 2-0 loss to Denmark in their final warm-up game, as well as a players’ party at the end of their World Cup preparations.
But experienced goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa shared his coach’s optimism, saying his team mates were ready for an upset.
“Of course we want to win tomorrow. We got the excitement. I see it in my team mates’ eyes,” Ochoa told reporters.
“We want to get the three points. It is the only way we know how to play. In theory and on paper they will control the game but that does not change the way we will play. We feel ready and we are convinced we can do something great tomorrow.”
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar