Saturday 13th June – 21:00 – Moncton Stadium
Despite being beaten 1-0 by France in their opening game, there were lots of positives for England to take as they kept some of the best attackers in the world for the majority of the match. They will look to bounce back against Mexico though, who conceded a late goal to draw 1-1 with Colombia in their opening game, which does mean the Lionesses sit bottom of Group F. That is sure to change though following Saturday evening’s encounter, as Mexico have never won a World Cup, and only narrowly qualified for the tournament. But their hopes are still up to make it out of the group as one of the best third placed teams, meaning goal difference could be crucial. For this reason, they are expected to set up quite defensively in Moncton, but there are glimpses of attacking talent in the side, which you can read about below. But ultimately, England should in theory easily brush Mexico aside, as they concentrate on their own more realistic tournament expectations. The game is live on BBC Three, with coverage beginning at 8:30pm, half an hour before kick-off.
England Team News
- Mark Sampson is likely to set his team up in a much more attacking way, following a fairly defensive approach against France.
- This means that Toni Duggan and Fran Kirby, who came on as substitutes on Tuesday could earn starts along with Jordan Nobbs.
- All 23 of the squad are fit and available.
The Key Battle: Jill Scott vs Veronica Perez
Standing at nearly six foot, Jill Scott is easily identified in the England midfield, which she dominates with her presence and experience.
A Manchester City player, Scott hasn’t scored for the Lionesses in nearly three years, something which she has admitted she wants to put right in Canada. Against weak opposition here, this could be her opportunity.
Scott has 90 caps for England with 13 goals, playing primarily as a defensive anchor, which is why it will be her job to stop Mexico attacking midfielder Veronica Perez.
The American-born 27 year old scored her country’s goal in the 1-1 draw with Colombia on Tuesday, so will be full of confidence and looking to get on the scoresheet again.
Scott’s height could have a huge advantage, but Perez is quick and will always look to play a potentially deadly through ball to the forwards.
Last Meeting: Mexico 1-1 England (28th June 2011)
England’s 2011 World Cup campaign got off to an inauspicious start as they were held by Mexico in their opening game of Group B in the Wolfsburg Arena. Hope Powell’s side settled after a nervy start and were rewarded for their early dominance through Fara Williams’s looping header on 21 minutes. Mexico then drew level against the run of play when Monica Ocampo’s speculative 35 yard effort crept in. Thereafter England failed to fire, with Eniola Aluko missing two fine chances.
The Mexico Lowdown
- Manager: Leonardo Cuellar
- Captain: Nayeli Rangel
- World Ranking: 25th
- Best World Cup Performance: Group Stage (1999 & 2011)
Star Player – Monica Ocampo
A player who England will remember very well is Monica Ocampo, who scored a stunning 35 yard goal to rescue a draw against the Lionesses at the last World Cup. In total, the 28 year old has 14 goals in 41 appearances for Mexico, including one in the dramatic comeback against Trinidad and Tobago which qualified Leonardo Cuellar’s team for this tournament. Plying her trade for Sky Blue FC in America at club level, she’s the player that most of Mexico’s attacking play will go through if England allow her the space.
The only thing that really springs to mind when looking at Mexico’s women’s team is that they follow the American way of doing things. They have 12 players who were either born or raised stateside in their squad, as well as three college players, which has added depth and talent to their team. So essentially, they are the US B Team. If they play like Abby Wambach and co, they would give England something to worry about. Fortunately they don’t, and we should witness a side trying to build a better squad for the future.
Their strength affects their weakness. There’s no national league in Mexico, so with the squad drawn largely from the American leagues, Mexico have struggled to establish their own style. Furthermore, five of the team are currently club-less, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about the lack of quality in the side. Their stamina could also come into question – Cuellar’s side may begin composed, but end up almost dead on their feet.
My Prediction: England 2-0 Mexico
The result should be comfortable for England, but it won’t be thrashing, like we’ve seen already at this World Cup. If Mark Sampson sets his side up much more attacking, then lots of chances will be created, and then it comes down to the finishing. I think the Lionesses will score two with no reply, with Toni Duggan and Eni Aluko scoring the goals. But it could be more…