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Mexico concerned about qualification, not CONCACAF giant status

1:12 AM WAT 22/03/2017
Oribe Peralta Mexico 06132016
El Tri is focusing on getting a result over Costa Rica this weekend, not on which team is more prestigious ahead of their World Cup qualifier.

Mexican national team players refused to be drawn into a debate about who the "giant of CONCACAF" is Tuesday, reiterating that their focus is totally on beating Costa Rica this weekend.

For years, Mexico had been considered the top team in the region, and El Tri likely retain that status in the eyes of most pundits on the back of their 2015 Gold Cup and CONCACAF Cup triumphs. But Friday's opponent Costa Rica also can stake a claim to being the region's best after its World Cup performance and the fact that, after two matches, it tops the Hex standings.

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For Mexico forward Oribe Peralta, the debate doesn't do him or his teammates any good if they don't meet their goals.

"Personally, it doesn't matter to me if we're the giant or not, what's important here is to qualify for the World Cup and do it the best way possible, getting the most number of points possible, so the first thing should be to take advantage of our home games and after that go and look for three points on the road," Peralta said Tuesday. "The objective is clear, and we can achieve it."

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Mexico midfielder Jesus Gallardo said the players are looking at Costa Rica as a tough test, whether they're a giant or not.

"It's a really strong opponent, but I think we have to concentrate on ourselves, in playing good football and going off of coach Osorio's direction," he said.

Mexico and Costa Rica kick off at 8:50 p.m. ET on Friday.