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Mexico National Soccer Team News - Opens 2013 with Draw
Mexico National Soccer Team News - Opens 2013 with Draw | Mexico Men's National Team, U.S. Men's National Team, Denmark, CONCACAF Hexagonal, CONCACAF Gold Cup, Confederations Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup, Chicharito, Manchester United, 2012 London Olympics

International Soccer News: Mexico Opens 2013 Schedule with 1-1 Draw against Denmark

Is El Tri ready for their 2013 CONCACAF Hexagonals? 

What will be Mexico’s attacking options? When El Tri lost to USA last year in August, speculation was rampant that a new tactical strategy might be needed. What will fans see on the field this season? How cohesive will the team be and how successful will their strikers be finding the back of the net?

The Mexico Men’s National Team opened their 2013 season with an international friendly against Denmark on Wednesday, January 30. The goal was to showcase the team that won gold at the 2012 London Olympics. What it turned out to be, though, was a dose of reality for "El Tri" as the two sides played to a 1-1 draw on neutral turf at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

The contest was part of Mexico's preparation for a year that will include the CONCACAF Hexagonal World Cup Qualifiers and Gold Cup and the Confederations Cup in Brazil. Many will also see this year as confirmation that Mexico was either deserving of Olympic gold or extremely fortunate. Facing a Danish team missing many of their stars, Chepo de la Torre’s squad played flat, earning a razzing from the crowd of over 43,000. Clearly not a good start to drowning out the nay-sayers.

El Tri will be looking to star forward and Manchester United goal scorer Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez for firepower. This will be Chicharito’s first Hexagonal, but the canny striker has already proven his worth in Premier League action, with 46 goals in all competition. Hernandez will be playing alongside Hexagonal veterans Giovani dos Santos, Andres Guardado and Carlos Salcido. Joining the hunt from the 2012 Olympics are Javier Aquino, Marco Fabian and Hector Herrera.

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Mexico will also debut a new third jersey this year, with a launch date planned for February 6, prior to their first Hexagonal meeting at home against Jamaica. The new jersey will be white with red striping along the shoulders and the crest on the upper left. This jersey is not yet available, but SoccerNation was able to acquire images from trusted sources.

Mexico closed out the semifinal round of CONCACAF Qualifying with a 5-0-0 record to lead Group B. El Tri opened the round with a 3-1 home win over Guyana, a team they also beat 5-0 in a match played at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas. Mexico also shut out Costa Rica (2-0 and 1-0) and El Salvador (2-0) en route to their top finish.

Jamaica, who will host the second match between the two countries on June 4, surprised many by finishing second to the U.S. in Group A. Their 3-1-1 record included a stunning 2-1 win over the U.S. Men’s National Team in Kingston, Jamaica, on September 7. The Reggae Boyz closed out the semifinals with a convincing 4-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda on October 16.

Perhaps the two most eagerly anticipated matches of the Hexagonal will take place on March 26 and September 10 as Mexico and the U.S. play their home-and-home series. In their last meeting, an international friendly, the U.S. stunned Mexico at Estadio Azteca 1-0 for their first win ever on El Tri’s home pitch. The series will kick off at Estadio Azteca in March and move to a location in the U.S. that will be announced later.

Many watchers expect both countries to advance to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but the results of these two matches could have a great influence on the final standings. The top three CONCACAF countries will automatically advance to the World Cup, with the No. 4 country playing the winner of Oceania for a berth.

Mexico’s other CONCACAF Hexagonal matches will include home games against Costa Rica (June 11), Honduras (September 6) and Panama (October 11). Away matches will see El Tri face Honduras (March 22), Jamaica (June 4), Panama (June 7), and Costa Rica (October 15). In Confederations Cup first round action, Mexico will face Italy, Brazil and Japan from June 16-22.

In between these important matches, Mexico is currently scheduled to play additional international friendlies in the U.S. in April, May, August and October. Opponents and locations will be announced at a later date.

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