Martino confirmed that Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez’s dream of the World Cup in Mexico is over

Carson, California – Mexico has four central strikers in training for its World Cup friendlies this week, but El Tree will only take three forwards to Qatar.

Coach Tata Martino confirmed on Tuesday evening that Chicharito would not be in either group.

Martino ruled Javier Hernandez out of his fourth World Cup appearance while speaking in the lobby at the stadium that Chicharito calls LA Galaxy.

While the 34-year-old Hernandez is having a pretty impressive season with his club MLS, Martino is focused on the other four candidates to lead the streak as Mexico tries to break out of a tough group at the World Cup. Despite rumors that he might pick all four strikers or call up Chicharito to reinforce the team that was abused during the CONCACAF qualifiers, Martino said he will only take three of the current candidates to Qatar.

“In Chicharito’s case, we simply go with other attackers,” Martino said. “We will try to select the 26 players who are closest to our game.”

Chicharito

LA Galaxy’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez walks into the training ground in Carson, California, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020.

AP Photo / Kelvin Koo

The strikers are Raul Jimenez, Rogelio Funes Mori, Henry Martin and Santiago Jimenez, but not everyone is ready to play at the moment. Jimenez has a thigh injury that kept him out of Wolverhampton’s squad recently in England, while Funes Morey was recently sidelined with a muscle injury after a strong start to his season with Liga MX’s Monterrey.

Martino doesn’t expect Jimenez or Funes Morey to play against Peru on Saturday at the Rose Bowl or against Colombia in the Gulf of California on Monday, but they are with El Tree to train, recover and connect with their teammates.

“We have two strikers who can play and two who can’t,” Martino said. “What I love is that we don’t have enough players. Four strikers won’t go (to Qatar), but as long as they make it difficult for me to choose, I’m very happy with that. Of course there will be talk of who has been left out, but the problem will be abundance, not scarcity.” .

The 21-year-old Jimenez is expected to be the oddball striker in Qatar, but he’s playing superbly for his Dutch club Feyenoord. Martino said he has not confirmed a World Cup venue, but has strongly supported Jimenez despite his injury problems this season, saying that Jimenez “is our ninth number”.

Martino also gave Mexican fans a window of hope on Jesus “Tecateto” Corona, the exciting Sevilla winger who fractured his left fibula and ruptured an ankle ligament in August. Sevilla initially said he would be out for at least four months, but Martino said Tuesday that Mexico hoped Corona would return to training soon with a chance of making the World Cup roster.

“Hopefully in the early days of October he will be able to work with us and have opportunities to fight for a place,” Martino said.

Mexico finished second in the CONCACAF qualifiers after Canada, but Martino’s team scored only four goals in their last five qualifiers despite Jimenez and Corona both available. These offensive feuds and new injury woes seem dangerous to Mexico’s hopes of escaping from a group that also includes world power Argentina and Poland’s squad led by Barcelona star Robert Lewandowski.

Even the players note that Mexican fans are pessimistic about the team’s chances, but that’s not unusual for a national team that has known its share of heartbreak. Veteran center back Hector Moreno is hoping El Tri supporters will find some optimism – and he hopes the team can put on two strong showings in California this week.

“On paper, it’s a tough group,” Moreno said. “Argentina is one of the favorites to win the whole tournament. But you still have to play those matches. In the last World Cup, you would never have thought that we would beat Germany, and then lose to Sweden as well. We have to focus on Poland, and then after that, we have to focus on Argentina and (Lionel) Messi, the best on the planet. We will always have big challenges at this level, and those are two big challenges, but I think we will be ready.”

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