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Martino extolls strength of Gold Cup, including 'revelation' Haiti

05:17 BST 02/07/2019
Tata Martino Mexico
The Mexico manager has enjoyed seeing a competitive tournament, including a surprise run for Tuesday's semifinal opponents

The Gold Cup is far from the most respected tournament in the world, but Mexico manager Tata Martino says people should give the tournament the respect it deserves.

It's the first time the Argentina native has lived a Gold Cup up close after coaching Paraguay and Argentina in past Copa Americas.

"I’ve seen good games in the Gold Cup," Martino said at a news conference Monday. "For me, Mexico vs. Costa Rica was a really good game in the Gold Cup. I don’t know if I’ve seen games like that in Copa America with this level of play. I'm not saying the Copa America is worse than the Gold Cup. Of course there is much more variety between teams.

"It's also true that it's difficult to play against one standard of opponents in the group stage and then find yourself against others going forward, including, for us it's been really difficult to get comfortable quickly with what Costa Rica wanted to do because the jump between Martinique - beyond the 3-2 - and Cuba.

"I'm not talking about Canada. And then suddenly you find yourself that's a candidate to win the tournament like you, it's the same thing I tell the guys here. If Mexico doesn't play friendly matches that have a really high level, you end up playing a mid-tier and lower. Suddenly you play Germany in the first round of the World Cup. It's not easy to get used to that.

"We've got Haiti, which I think has the revelation of the tournament. No matter what happens, Haiti is the revelation of the tournament. We had Costa Rica in the quarterfinals and if do well tomorrow we could have Jamaica in the final or the United States, another candidate to win the title. Those are three games in which the competition is really level.  I think there's another question which has to do with why you guys in the press devalue a competition so much. What's the reason for doing that? I always have a bit - I don't know if the word is dark - view about why the competition gets devalued because what happens is at the end of the day if we win, 'Ah, it's nothing,' and if we lose, it creates a bad environment."

Even with a quick turnaround and both Andres Guardado and Jonathan dos Santos carrying knocks that forced them to leave the quarterfinal against Costa Rica before extra time, Martino said he'll put his best possible players on the field rather than give anyone time off ahead of a potential spot in the July 7 final.

"Rest in a semifinal? No. Nobody would be out because they have to have rest," he said. "What we are trying to do is avoid the risks all the risks players can have, the implications an injury can have for a player where you might have to make a quick change."

"From no point of view will there be a player who is out to get rest. We’re in the last 180 minutes. We’re not thinking about that," he continued.

Mexico will look to book its place in the final by topping Haiti with the match set to kick off at 10:36 p.m. ET.