Moscow (AFP) – Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio pledged his team would go on the attack against defending World Cup champions Germany when the two sides meet in their opening game on Sunday.
Germany defeated Mexico 4-1 on the way to hoisting the Confederations Cup trophy in Russia last year, but Osorio said he will not alter his side’s approach for the Group F showdown.
“It’s a great opportunity for Mexican football, to be here and play the current world champions,” Osorio told reporters in Moscow.
“They’re a very strong team with wonderful players and very well managed. They’re favourites to win the World Cup.
“They have two central midfielders very capable of commanding and controlling the game if we allow them to do it. (Toni) Kroos and (Sami) Khedira are two top-level midfielders.
“Nevertheless, we can compete with them, we think we have a good chance to match up with them and go head to head against them.”
Mexico are appearing at a seventh successive World Cup, having fallen at the last-16 stage in each of the past six tournaments.
They have beaten Germany just once in 11 attempts, a 2-0 friendly win in 1985, but Osorio believes his players must ignore the team’s poor record against the four-time world champions.
“You always have to play to win and not fear defeat. We have to be ready to play and really believe we can be a match for them.
“We’re focusing on making sure that the players who play tomorrow understand this is a normal game like any others. If they can grasp that then I think we have a good chance of winning.
“Those playing for the first time in a World Cup, they need to remember it’s just a football game.”
Only a handful of the Germany players who started the 2017 Confederations Cup semi-final will start against Mexico at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Joachim Loew rested several experienced regulars such as Kroos, Thomas Mueller, Jerome Boateng and Mesut Ozil for that tournament to prioritise youth.
Osorio expects a vastly different encounter with those Germany stalwarts now back.
“In our opinion the Germany national team is very different now. In the Confederations Cup there was a very strong emphasis on the transitional game,” said Osorio.
“Now it’s a back four and so they had one extra player in midfield or attack. It’s now more of a possession game so it brings a very different question to their play.”