While U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann has downplayed his team's chances at the World Cup, his Mexican counterpart believes El Tri can win it all.Mexico coach Miguel Herrera and U.S. counterpart Jurgen Klinsmann obviously think differently.
While the latter has been harangued this week for openly stating that it is unrealistic to say the Americans can win the World Cup, Herrera was forthright in Thursday's news conference in saying that Mexico can go all the way in Brazil.
"We're ready, there are no excuses," Herrera said. "The team has surprised me more than I thought. ... We can be world champions."
The statement struck the right tone for a side coming into the World Cup with a little bit of an identity crisis. It wasn't a chest-beating "We will conquer," but a reminder that Mexican soccer was very much considered to be on the rise until the breaks slammed in 2013.
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On Friday against Cameroon and over the coming weeks, we will get an inkling into which is the truer representation of Mexico soccer: the Olympic 2012 final win over Brazil or that disastrous qualifying campaign.
Herrera named his side to play Cameroon over 24 hours ahead of game. It is a practice in line with his personality and one he has carried on from his days as a club manager.
There will be no surprise inclusion, no last-minute tactical switch and little subtlety. What Mexico will be is a side that attacks, pushes players forward and works hard for each other in winning back the ball.
"There are some (Mexico fans) that sell their houses or cars to be at the World Cup," Herrera said. "We're going to give absolutely everything."
What Herrera literally said, in Spanish, was that the team would "leave its skin and soul" on the pitch against Cameroon. It's the type of rhetoric that resonates strongly with Mexico fans.
While Herrera — who said he already had "butterflies in his stomach" — tended to focus on the bigger picture, it was captain Rafa Marquez who provided the more detailed analysis of what Mexico will need to do to pick up points against Cameroon.
The 35-year-old highlighted Cameroon's speed as something Mexico will have to guard against, but believes keeping the ball will be key to El Tri winning the game.
"Maybe in tactical order they aren't the strongest, so we could do them damage there," said Marquez, seated alongside his manager. "I think the important thing tomorrow will be to control the ball, possession (and) we have to try to wear them down a little by (them) not having the ball."
Marquez will be reacquainted with his friend and former Barcelona teammate Samuel Eto'o, who the Leon defender described as one of the pillars of the Indomitable Lions and someone that will need watching closely.
"He's a good friend and we had a good time as teammates in Barcelona, but now he is my rival and I have to do my job well," Marquez said.
The matchup between the two veterans promises to be key to the outcome of the match, but Mexico will also have to improve on defending set pieces compared to the preparation games, as well as making sure the aging Marquez and Rodriguez aren't left exposed to Cameroon's speedy players running at them.
Marquez, however, remains confident in his teammates and believes they can step up to the occasion.
"I'd tell them to enjoy the opportunity," Marquez said. "It is a window ... many can improve their level and (cause) other teams to look (to sign) them."
"I tell them to give more than 100 percent," he added.
If Mexico doesn't make waves at Brazil 2014, you get the impression that it won't be through a lack of effort.