Mexico will be missing one its most important players when it takes on Brazil in the round of 16 on Monday.
Hector Moreno, the left center back who has started more games than any other player in the Juan Carlos Osorio era, is suspended for the contest after being booked twice during the group stage. Moreno was shown a yellow card by Nestor Pitana on Wednesday, with the Argentine referee whistling Moreno for a penalty after he brought down Marcus Berg in the box.
Andreas Granqvist converted the penalty for Sweden's second goal in a 3-0 win for the Europeans . Despite the lopsided loss, Mexico moved into the round of 16 for the seventh straight time thanks to a second-place finish in the group after wins over Germany and South Korea combined with the Korean victory over the reigning champion.
Moreno also was shown yellow in the first half of Mexico's 1-0 victory against Germany. While his teammates insisted the squad is deep enough to cover the absence of the experienced center back, the suspension may force Osorio to get creative with his defense. Carlos Salcedo could slide over from right center back to left center back with Hugo Ayala returning to the starting lineup after taking part against Germany.
"Hector is a very important player, but at the same time we have 23 players who are here with a big dream and we’ll try to do things as well as possible," midfielder Miguel Layun said. "The manager is in charge of that, the mister will make the choice about who will replace him. If we make changes, if we play the same way, we don’t know."
While Moreno and Hector Herrera, the other player who has appeared most frequently in Osorio's starting XIs, both had yellow cards coming into the match, the manager said "it won't be a factor," when asked if the potential suspensions would figure into his lineup for the game against Sweden.
The coach already is working on his plan for the Brazil match, with plenty of focus on the errors his team made in the defeat, however the wildly different idea of play between Sweden and Brazil mean there may not be many similarities between the two contests.
"Like always, we're going to go back and look over the game, we'll write up what we need to, we'll talk about it with the players. I don't think we have much time to feel sorry for ourselves," Osorio said in a news conference before Group E was decided later in the night. "Right now the most important thing is to see the next opponent we're against, who definitely is going to be a different opponent than how Sweden plays, but this game and this way to compete against this style in particular I think always teaches me and has given me a lot of lessons."