Gold Cup: Mexico-Guadeloupe Preview

Mexico and Guadeloupe will close out the Gold Cup group phase in the second half of a doubleheader on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
Mexico will try and capture the Group C title when El Tri faces Guadeloupe at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Mexico will also attempt to place some focus back on the tournament and off manager Javier Aguirre, who was banned for the games on Saturday for his actions in Thursday's game against Panama.

Absent Manager

Aguirre's kick to Panama's Ricardo Phillips will cost Aguirre three games. Should Mexico reach the Gold Cup semifinals, Aguirre will be able to serve out the suspension in this tournament, but if Mexico crash out in the quarterfinals, Aguirre will miss Mexico's World Cup qualifier against the United States on Aug. 12 in Mexico City. Aguirre has been under an immense amount of pressure for the the team's lackluster performances, both in the Gold Cup as well as World Cup qualifying, and perhaps the kick was part of his frustration boiling over. Regardless, Aguirre's assistans - Mario Carrillo and Manuel Vidrio - will be in charge against Guadeloupe. The assistants bring varying levels of experience to the team - Carrillo led America to the Clausura 2005 championship but Vidrio has never managed a first-division club before.

Focus On Football

Mexico were already under scrutiny for a less-than-stellar performance agianst Nicaragua but the subsequent draw against Panama and the fallout from the Aguirre incident only cranked up the controversy even more. Still, with the media critical of Mexico's manager and their World Cup hopes, the players can try and bring some of the focus back on the game and the Gold Cup in general with a strong showing against Guadeloupe. Mexico could win Group A with a win as Guadeloupe have six points, and El Tri would vault them and finish with seven points. In that scenario, Mexico would play Haiti in a quarterfinal match. If Mexico draw, Guadeloupe would win the group and Mexico would play Costa Rica in a quarterfinal match. An outside possibility exists for Mexico finishing in third place: Guadeloupe and Panama would need victories, and the combined margin of victories would need to be three. Should that happen, Mexico would finish in third and would play the United States.

Another Surprising Run

Guadeloupe cannot participate in FIFA World Cup qualifying since the island is technically a territory of France. Thus, the Gold Cup is Guadeloupe's only chance at true international glory. The Gwada Boys are not exactly taking that opportunity lightly. Two years ago, Guadeloupe made a run to the semifinals and met Mexico, and it took a spectacular long-range goal by Pavel Pardo to knock Guadeloupe out. This time around, Guadeloupe has a chance for revenge while also proving that last tournament's run was no fluke.

Probable Starting Lineups

Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa; Jose Antonio Castro, Jonny Magallon, Ismael Rodriguez, Fausto Pinto; Giovani Dos Santos, Gerardo Torrado, Israel Castro, Israel Martinez; Miguel Sabah, Omar Bravo.

Guadeloupe: Marias Fausta; Cedric Avinel, Eddy Viator, Miguel Comminges, Stephane Auvray; Aurelien Capoue, David Fleuviral, Thomas Gamiette; Ludovic Gotin, Loic Loval Landre, Alexandre Alphonse.

Projected score: Guadeloupe 2, Mexico 0.

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