Expectations are sky high for Mexico at Copa America Centenario. And manager Juan Carlos Osorio isn’t running from them. In fact, he’s only adding to them.
"Our objective is to reach the final because playing finals is very difficult and winning them is extremely difficult," Osorio told ESPN. "If we aren’t in the last four of the competition, I’ll take it as a real blow. I’d be in debt not just with the Mexican people, but with this group of players and myself."
Setting the semifinals as a minimum expectation, with anything less as a failure, is a bold move from Osorio. Considering Mexico have a history of firing their managers quickly, he’s placing a target on himself right from the start.
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Mexico may have a tough run to the semifinals, too. They’re in the same group as Uruguay, so they may finish second in Group C, and if they do then they’ll likely have to take on Argentina in the quarterfinals. Even if they do win their group, they’re looking at a quarterfinal matchup with Chile. Either way, their first knockout stage match is going to be a challenge.
The good news is there’s plenty of reason to be excited about this Mexico team and taking aim at the semifinals, even the final, is plenty realistic. They’re incredibly talented and have been excellent under Osorio, winning all seven matches they have played since the Colombian took over. So Osorio isn’t being absurd when he says he expects his team to make the semifinals, and wants to be in the final.
Many people believe El Tri will be in the final four. Some have even tabbed them to win Copa America. But believing that it’s possible or likely, and going public with it when leading a country that already expects a lot of its managers it a gutsy move on Osorio’s part.