Mexico vs Iceland – Friday, March 23, 7:00 PM PST/10:00 PM EST – Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara – United States
International friendlies are always a bit of an odd affair for El Tri. With manager Juan Carlos Osorio regularly mixing up starting elevens and many of the games taking place outside the match calendar it is often hard to keep up with the Mexican side’s progress.
Furthermore, when they do play, they often do so away from home. This week’s matches against Iceland and Croatia, for example, will take place Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, and the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
But, while the first team selection will be a mystery and the choice of venues seems odd the opposition makes sense. Drawn in a World Cup group with Germany, Sweden and South Korea the friendlies against Iceland and Croatia are supposed to simulate playing against Sweden and Germany.
Iceland in the meantime are drawn in a World Cup group with Argentina, Nigeria and Croatia. Hence, the game on Friday night is supposed to simulate playing against Argentina and there are indeed some parallels between Mexico and Argentina. Both countries play a fluent tactical style while also capitalising from a distinct Latin American toughness in their approach to the game.
As a result, this will be an interesting matchup between two World Cup participation, which might give us some indications for how both sides plan to play during the tournament.
Mexico vs Iceland – Players to Watch
Andrés Guardado #18 – Mexico (Betis)
The 31-year-old Guardado will play his 143 Mexican national team game at Levi’s Stadium on Friday. Signed from PSV Eindhoven Guardado has been a stabilising factor for Betis in La Liga this season with two goals and seven assists in 23 games helping the club to stay clear of relegation trouble and even bring them into Europa League contention as the Sevilla based club is currently in eighth place.
Albert Gudmundsson #10 – Iceland (PSV Eindhoven)
Albert Gudmundsson is our player to watch. The PSV Eindhoven forward scored three goals in Iceland’s last friendly against Indonesia on January 14. Mostly used in PSV’s reserve side PSV II, which plays in the second division Jupiler League, the 20-year-old has managed seven goals and five assists. He has also played seven games in the Eredivisie recording three assists. An interesting talent Gudmundsson could become the latest Scandinavian player to make a breakthrough at PSV.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Mexico vs Iceland – 2-1
Mexico vs Iceland – Match Stats
- This is the fourth fixture between the two sides and Mexico have never lost to Iceland winning one match and drawing twice.
- Head coaches Juan Carlos Osorio and Heimir Hallgrímsson faced each other last February with Mexico winning the match 1-0.
- The match last February, however, was a none FIFA regulated national team game and only included players active in the respective domestic leagues.
Mexico vs Iceland – Possible Lineups
Ochoa – Layun, Moreno, Araujo, Salcedo – Herrera, Reyes, Guardado – Fabian, Jimenez, Corona
Manager: Juan Carlos Osorio
Rúnarsson – A. F. Skúlason, Fjóluson, Eyjólfsson, Fridjónsson – O.F. Skúlason, Gunnarsson – Sigurdarson, A. Gudmundsson – Sigthórsson, Finnbogason
Manager: Heimir Hallgrímsson
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth. Or contact him via email: [email protected]