Young Mexico team makes a comeback to Copa America

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Jimmy Lozano is unafraid of making tough decisions. When naming his initial squad for Copa America, the Mexico coach ensured that youth gets an opportunity, leaving out some established El Tri players. Ten of the 31 players in the squad are aged 23 and under, with Lozano focusing on the 2026 World Cup, which Mexico will co-host with Canada and the United States. The success of this strategy will soon become evident as they compete in a manageable Group B against Ecuador, Venezuela, and Jamaica.
This year’s tournament marks Mexico’s return after missing out on the last two editions. Mexico has a rich Copa America history, being a dominant force in most tournaments they participated in. Apart from a disappointing 2011 appearance and the 2015 tournament, Mexico has consistently reached the knockout stages in every Copa they played, finishing as runners-up in 1993 and 2001.
El Tri is not entering the tournament just to make up the numbers; they are aiming to leave a mark. Lozano, a former midfielder who earned 37 caps for Mexico and played in the 2007 Copa, took charge of the national team ahead of last year’s Gold Cup, where Mexico clinched their ninth title. Notably, the squad for that tournament was selected by his predecessor, Diego Cocca, who was dismissed following their defeat in the 2023 Concacaf Nations League semi-finals against the USMNT. Therefore, this Copa America will be the first major tournament where Lozano shapes the team.

Veteran Players Missing

One of Mexico’s notable figures, 38-year-old Memo Ochoa, known for his 150 national team caps, will not feature in the Copa squad. His absence is attributed to losing his starting position at Serie A team Salernitana. Instead, the goalkeeping duties will be handled by three inexperienced keepers, with Luis Malagon being the most capped among them, having made his debut last summer. The defensive lineup comprises three Europe-based players and seven from Liga MX, including standout defenders Cesar Montes and Johan Vazquez.
In midfield, Edson Alvarez stands out as a pivotal player, offering versatility and experience with 76 caps for Mexico. The midfield also features younger talents like Orbelin Pineda and Diego Lainez, among others. The absence of older players in this area signals a shift towards a youthful core.

Changes in the Forward Line

There are notable omissions in Mexico’s strike force, with Chucky Lozano, Luis Jimenez, and Henry Martin missing out on the squad. Instead, Coach Lozano has opted for a fresh contingent of forwards, led by Santiago Gimenez, who has been in top form for Feyenoord. The forward lineup also includes talents like Alexis Vega and young prospects Cesar Huerta and Guillermo Martinez.
Mexico will kick off their Copa America campaign against the Reggae Boyz of Concacaf on June 22 in Houston, aiming to make an impact in the tournament.

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