NATAL, Brazil, (Reuters) – Mexico will “fight to the death” in their World Cup Group A opener against Cameroon today and make their fans proud, coach Miguel Herrera has promised.
“Every training session leaves me easy and calm knowing every player will leave their last bead of sweat and last breath on the field to please the Mexican fans,” Herrera told a news conference on Thursday. “We will fight to the death.”
The coach, who took over the national team after three predecessors departed last year, said he planned to deploy two attack-minded wingers and pair Oribe Peralta and Giovani Dos Santos up front.
Herrera, whose decision means Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez will start on the bench, said he would also select a five-man backline to counter the attacking threat of a Cameroon side led by frontman Samuel Eto’o.
“We will have five in the back to have a bit of cover,” Herrera said.
The job of containing Eto’o will likely fall to team captain Rafael Marquez, a former team mate of the Cameroonian at Barcelona who is playing in his fourth and final World Cup for Mexico.
Marquez said Mexico will need to keep control of the ball and deny the Africans space to launch counter-attacks.
“That will be something special because Eto’o is a good friend of mine but now he is my opponent,” Marquez said. “He is one of the pillars so it will be key to always be on top of him.”
Herrera said his team were focused on delivering a performance to please the some 40,000 Mexican fans expected to arrive in the resort city in Northern Brazil to cheer on their side.
“Our team will do its utmost and we are expecting a fast-paced game,” he said.