Mexico are ready for the challenge of meeting the heightened expectations generated by their shock victory over Germany, boss Juan Carlos Osorio has said.
El Tri put in a hugely impressive performance in their World Cup Group F opener on Sunday as they defeated the defending champions 1-0, with Hirving Lozano netting a first-half winner.
Osorio said at his pre-match conference, streamed on FIFA’s website, ahead of Saturday’s clash with South Korea in Rostov-On-Don: “This week we made sure that we all understand the responsibility – the responsibility is to play up to the high expectations that everybody has of Mexico now.
“I think that’s a great challenge for us and we are ready for it.”
He added: “I just hope we don’t rest on our laurels, and we don’t take the pedal off the gas and tomorrow will be another great game for us. And we can play entertaining football and hopefully gain a lot of fans around the world.”
Mexico captain Andres Guardado has stressed his confidence the team can keep up their standards against South Korea, who lost their opener 1-0 to Sweden.
“We have to keep playing as well as we did against Germany and we have to have the same mindset,” Guardado said.
“We don’t get extra points when we beat Germany. We cannot relax and sit back. We mustn’t think of our victory against Germany as something with more value.
“Everybody on the team is aware of what is at stake. The victory against Germany has even reinforced the mindset we’ve had for a long time now. It’s made us feel stronger.
“Tomorrow I have absolute trust in my team-mates because we will demonstrate what we did against Germany.”
South Korea boss Shin Tae-yong believes it is likely the weather in Rostov-On-Don will work in Mexico’s favour.
Shin said at his pre-match press conference: “It is a lot hotter than we expected. I think there is about a 15 degree difference compared to our previous site.
“Our players really have to adjust, but I think at 6pm (the local kick-off time) it starts to get a little bit windy and once the sun sets down, it will be OK.
“I think the weather will have an influence, and I think it will work in favour of the Mexico team because they are used to the hot weather. I think the change in the weather will probably impact us negatively.”
When Osorio was told about those comments, he said: “We hadn’t actually thought about it that way but that would be a very good thing if it plays in our favour.”
Shin admitted morale among his players had been “quite low” following the Sweden result but emphasised the “atmosphere has improved” and they were “fully prepared” to face Mexico.
South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in is set to be attendance, which Shin feels will be “very encouraging for our players”.
He also backed star man Son Heung-min to improve on his showing from the opener, saying: “We played defensively in our first match, and so he didn’t play to his fullest ability.
“I think that tomorrow he will be able to show a little bit more of his abilities. I do believe he is the best among all Asian players.”
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