In March, Mexico assistant coach Luis Pompilio Paez went to see Sweden and Germany friendly games in person while fellow assistant Humberto Sierra traveled to observe South Korea facing Northern Ireland. Earlier in the year, the assistants had gone to Turkey to see a trio of Korea friendly matches. The coaches were present in Pasadena, California, however with El Tri manager Juan Carlos Osorio feeling it's time to focus on what Mexico needs to change ahead of the tournament rather than gather more intelligence on group opponents.
Osorio said he and his assistants were aware of the result of Korea's 2-0 win over Honduras which took place in the wee hours of Monday morning but would go over the footage later.
"We know the score. We watched the video. All the assistants were here with me because now we think that the most important thing is our team. No disrespect to (Korea), but we’ll have time to watch them," Osorio said after Monday's scoreless draw with Wales. "We followed a little bit on the internet. Any team that will drop off will present the same questions with how we’re going to penetrate them, how we’re going to get into the attacking third. It will be a major factor. I don’t know if (Korea) will play that way or Sweden or Germany or any team. But we’re working on possible scenarios and the scenario today was a big challenge for us, however, we penetrated enough times to score and I think we’ll keep progressing."
Of course, anyone who knows how Osorio works knows he will be taking in everything possible, and with the scouting trips made by the assistant coaches and video study, Mexico Director of National Teams Dennis te Kloese said that El Tri has all the information needed to prepare for the group stage in Russia.
"Honestly, as soon as we knew our draw from December... with all the technology on hand and with all the new programs we have, we have a sports science department where a lot of people are working with a lot of scouts. We traveled to see our opponents Germany, Korea and Sweden live," Te Kloese said. "Obviously, we've had access on everything. In the end, these games are of such a high importance, such high value that it's still obviously sometimes a difficult activity to analyze 100 percent of your opponents, but within our means and whatever we have, we do everything to keep track of everybody."
With a large Korean community in Los Angeles, many members of the media were eager to know what the coaching staff thought of South Korea, and while Mexico currently has its focus on the first group match against Germany, everyone involved said the Asian team also would pose a challenge.
"First of all, there's a lot of respect for Korea. Personally, I visited for the U-20 World Cup. I thought it was a very enriching experience. It was interesting to see that the coach we played against at the Olympics in Brazil," Te Kloese said. "This time, we didn't play against him but we saw the team play. I think he has a very clear view on which players work and where they can do damage and where they can have value. I think in his country he should very much be appreciated as a coach. I think it's an opponent we need to respect. Obviously they're very clear on every aspect and how we evaluate and how we scout them."