Mexico landed in Russia on Monday evening still unsure of the fitness of defender Diego Reyes. Less than 36 hours later they got bad news. Struggling with a hamstring injury for the whole of June, Reyes was given all the time possible to recover.
Coach Juan Carlos Osorio had said on Monday that he had given Reyes all the time he could and a decision would be made on Tuesday. The Mexican federation announced in a statement in the early hours of Wednesday that Reyes was out of the World Cup.
Reyes has struggled all season with niggling injuries, managing just 70 minutes since the end of March. Reyes will be a huge loss to Mexico. His place in the squad will be taken by Pachuca midfielder Erick Gutierrez.
Mexico have great team spirit
Mexico won’t allow themselves to be derailed by this news though. They have a strong team spirit, and have already begun talking about how much hard work is ahead. “We are in the final stretch of what we’ve prepared for over almost 50 games,” Osorio said. “We’ve got the team and how we want to play against each opponent well defined. Now we just have to work, execute [the plan] and hope that the boys produce top performances in each game.
There were some signs that that team spirit may have got a little out of hand. At an after game party on Saturday, Mexican players were seen partying until the early hours of Sunday Morning. Mexican midfielder Andres Guardao played down the significance of the party.
“We are people before being footballers,” Guardado said in a news conference ahead of El Tri‘s friendly against Denmark on Saturday. “We have the right to do what we want in our lives in our free time.
“Obviously when a situation like this comes up … it’s important to be right mentally and for your personal life to be well so you can perform on the pitch. But honestly, in that respect we are very calm. We’ve not committed any act of indiscipline because we weren’t in camp, and we’re calm. The group is very united and focused on something so important coming up — the World Cup.”
Mexico will play their first game on Sunday 17th June against holders Germany.