Who’ll thrive and battle below Mexico coach Diego Cocca

Mexico’s males’s nationwide workforce is now in a brand new period below the administration of Diego Cocca. The 51-year-old Argentine coach was unveiled final week because the chief of an El Tri aspect that’s in want of a rejuvenation after a disappointing exit within the group stage of the 2022 World Cup.

With an ageing roster left behind by former coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino, Cocca will shortly must pinpoint some reinforcements and implement his strategies earlier than his debut in subsequent month’s CONCACAF Nations League matches towards Suriname (March 23) and Jamaica (March 26).

Ahead of these video games, let’s dive into what precisely he’ll carry to Mexico’s tactical board, a number of faces who will profit from his appointment, a handful of others whose time with El Tri can be questioned, and a normal sense if Cocca can work some magic with the general participant pool.

Tactics rundown: How Cocca will possible arrange Mexico’s XI

Organization might be one of the best one-word description of Cocca’s method.

While main Atlas to 2 Liga MX titles within the 2021 Apertura and 2022 Clausura, pragmatism was key in his defense-first type that was carried out in a 3-5-2 formation. Through that setup, Cocca relied on a extremely coordinated midfield core and pacey wing-backs that have been in a position to cowl loads of floor on the flanks.

In possession, his attacking gameplan was a direct one which was highlighted by his wing-backs connecting with the harmful entrance two of Julian Quiñones and Julio Furch. While Quiñones was extra of the intelligent and playmaking mind of the partnership, Furch was the well-rounded brawn that was glorious with ending his possibilities and creating performs of his personal.

Out of possession and when chasing a primary or second purpose, Cocca would have Atlas sit larger up the sector and press opponents. Once they’d the lead, he was more than pleased to sit down additional again and/or cautiously put extra numbers behind the ball — which generally led to tense or boring finishes to video games.

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If you ask most Tigres followers, this was a evident concern in his short-lived 2023 stint with the membership that lasted simply 5 matches earlier than he took the Mexico job. Although he did tinker with a 4-3-3 and 4-1-4-1 formation, his pragmatism remained and was greatest personified in a slim 1-0 win throughout his last recreation in cost.

Players who can thrive: Araujo, Gimenez, Moreno

The wing-backs could make or break Cocca’s schematic, which implies that he’ll particularly want gamers who not solely have a stable defensive base, however are additionally energetic, agile, and comfy with creating possibilities going ahead. Julian Araujo is somebody with a excessive ceiling that may examine these packing containers. If the 21-year-old additionally in a position to finalize the transfer to Barcelona from the LA Galaxy quickly, that can solely enhance his inventory much more and assist him make an awesome case to be a starter below Cocca.

At 35, Monterrey defender Hector Moreno is not getting any youthful, however we will not neglect that he was one in every of Mexico’s few positives within the World Cup along with his aerial presence, aggression and distribution. If he has further help with one other central determine in Cocca’s three-man backline, that would supply cowl for the veteran that lacks pace however that would additionally enter a renaissance in his nationwide workforce profession.

Up prime, 21-year-old Santiago Gimenez suits the mildew of somebody like Atlas’ Furch that’s far more than only a sturdy goal-scoring striker. With the Eredivisie’s top-of-the-table Feyenoord, the bodily Mexican ahead has showcased his capability to attach effectively along with his front-line, discover passes in harmful areas and quickly progress the ball. In a Cocca system that may doubtlessly use simply two forwards, a flexible choice like Gimenez is a perfect match.

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Players who would battle: Lainez, Jimenez, Rodriguez

If Cocca have been to make use of a 3-5-2 formation, that will spell doom for some pure wingers. Talented choices like Hirving “Chucky” Lozano and Alexis Vega might doubtlessly thrive as a second striker, it is powerful to see somebody like Tigres’ Diego Lainez incomes a lot of a big function. Still needing time to enhance his ending, decision-making and stamina, the 22-year-old’s greatest hope can be incomes occasional minutes in a 4-3-3 or 4-1-4-1 scheme.

In the ahead place, 31-year-old Wolverampton Wanderers striker Raul Jimenez would additionally most likely run into some points in Cocca’s demanding type. Sadly, since his life-threatening head damage in November of 2020, his output hasn’t been the identical in practically all points of his as soon as all-around capabilities. Jimenez needs to be within the dialog within the close to future for Mexico, however with inconsistent beginning roles overseas, all indicators level to him persevering with his transition from one in every of El Tri‘s most essential gamers to a backup on the bench.

Despite a good begin to Cruz Azul’s season with a purpose and two assists in his first 5 appearances, 26-year-old midfielder Carlos Rodriguez has struggled with offering constant performances on the nationwide workforce degree. Often discovering himself on the fallacious web page of his El Tri teammates, Rodriguez might quickly be ignored of the Cocca midfield playbook — which appears to be like set to be crowded with up-and-coming choices stepping up — that requires everybody to be in sync.

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Does Cocca’s method work for Mexico?

The brief reply is sure, however with some caveats.

Whether or not it’s in a 3-5-2 or a variation of a four-man backline, Cocca’s technique asks quite a bit from his gamers who’re anticipated to play direct with the ball, press when out of possession, and sit again to defend if wanted — all whereas holding onto an organized form.

Energetic and well-rounded gamers are mandatory for this, which on paper, Mexico has no lack of. When trying on the technology of gamers that may very well be key figures by means of the 2026 World Cup, names akin to Cesar Montes, Erick Gutierrez, Edson Alvarez, Johan Vasquez, Erick Sanchez, Araujo, Gimenez and lots of extra are able to fulfilling the necessities wanted for Cocca.

However, the massive query is that if the brand new tactical setup is a good suggestion within the brief to medium time period. Unless Cocca decides to change his strategies and develop into extra attack-minded or possession-based (which is a risk), there are reliable worries about how effectively his technique will look towards CONCACAF opponents that nearly all the time bunker their protection. In March’s Nations League video games and this summer time’s Gold Cup, it’s going to be fascinating to see the style during which Cocca offers with this.

Most importantly, he should additionally determine what his participant pool will appear to be. The ageing roster urgently wants a youthful refresh, and with Cocca and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) promising in his presentation that he’ll work extra carefully with golf equipment, the hope is that there can be much more of a spotlight to establish and help gamers who could be essential contributors to El Tri.

Like all issues concerned on this course of although, it is merely hope and never a assure simply but for Mexico’s future.