NO LOOKING BACK FOR HECTOR HERRERA
As Mexico kick off the final, “octagonal” round of their qualifying campaign for the FIFA World What to know in case you are travelling to Qatar – World Cup 2022 Cup Qatar 2022™ exactly one month and one day after losing the Concacaf Gold Cup 2021 final to USA, the memories are still raw. The recollections will be just as painful for El Tri if they cast their minds back a little further still to 6 June, when they were also defeated by the Stars and Stripes, this time in the final of the Concacaf Nations League. Check out the cutting-edge technology of the World Cup 2022!
Yet for Hector Herrera, one of the main figureheads of the current Mexico side, all of this is already old news. "Losing hurts, and in this case it really did, because we lost two finals to one of our biggest rivals. But that’s how it goes in football; you just have to start writing the next chapter," he said in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com.
"There’s nothing worse than dwelling on the past," the 31-year-old continued. "I don’t see our upcoming matches as an opportunity for revenge. The situation has completely changed; now it’s all about booking a ticket to the World Cup. We need to process everything and look at what we didn’t do well to make sure we don’t repeat the same mistakes and that we develop as a team. At the end of the day, we still have the whole of World Cup qualification ahead of us."
Despite his team’s recent bitter defeats, the central midfielder believes Mexico can take several positives from their experiences as they prepare to enter what is a crucial stage in any footballer’s career.
"When all is said and done, there are also some encouraging things to report. The team are working increasingly well together, and we know exactly what our game plan and targets are. Although qualifying is a completely different prospect, I think Mexico are better prepared mentally, because we already know the challenge that awaits us. We know it won’t be easy, just like at the Gold Cup, but we’ll be better prepared and play with more focus."
A new experience
The challenge Herrera speaks of is unprecedented, with Mexico playing three matches, against Jamaica, Costa Rica and Panama, in a single international window rather than the usual two. "At times like this, we need to use the potential of the entire squad. Teams with more high-quality players at their disposal will be able to manage this situation better," he explained.
"Anyone who essentially has two teams capable of going toe-to-toe with their opponents will benefit from the fact that there are so many matches in a short space of time," Herrera said. "Mexico have good players for that. Another crucial factor is being able to recover fully and being aware of what is at stake."