The 2014 World Cup is just around the corner and one of the world’s hottest teams is bringing the action to The City.
Bay Area soccer fans will get a chance to see the Mexican national team play its version of the beautiful game when it takes on Peru in a friendly match at Candlestick Park on April 17.
“Playing here in the U.S., it feels like you’re home,” coach Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre said through a translator. “We have a lot of support here in the U.S., we have a lot of people who are from Mexico who live here, obviously. We have to play good football.”
Mexican soccer is on the rise after winning gold at the 2012 Olympics, capturing the 2011 U-17 World Cup championship and finishing third at the 2011 U-20 World Cup. With an overflow of young talent, the team is expected to make waves in Brazil next summer. But first, they must quality.
Mexico is currently 0-1-0 in the final round of CONCACAF qualifications, the top three out of six teams in the double round-robin tournament, which concludes in October, will advance to the World Cup.
De la Torre said the game at Candlestick Park will give his team an opportunity to prepare for its qualification matches against Jamaica on June 4, Panama on June 7 and Costa Rica on June 11.
“We’re going to see this game through the lens of how it can help us in World Cup qualifying — that’s the most important thing,” he said.
He said the Peru game will be an opportunity to evaluate players, which could be particularly useful with so much young talent.
“It gives you a good mind of who you can bring into the games,” he said.
De la Torre said he expects a tough fight from Peru.
“We played this team in the last Copa America and they were a very physical team, fast team, very difficult players,” he said.