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Martino: Copa will unite both Americas one day

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mexico coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino believes sooner or later a Copa America involving the whole American continent will become a reality.

The Argentine was questioned about the travel and distances in the Gold Cup in the United States this summer and was reluctant to give his opinion on what should change, although he did hint he believes there will eventually be a united Copa America.

"The Gold Cup has been played for a long time, I'm the new face at this Gold Cup," said Martino. "I'm not the person to change the format. The people that analyze the format these tournament should be played [in] are the specialists, I'm not.

"It seems to me that in time, one way or the other, we will get closer to a Copa America that is played between all the continent.

"When I say all the continent, I mean all the American continent."

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Martino has previously stressed he'd like Mexico to be involved in the 2020 Copa America, although Australia and Qatar will be the invited non-CONMEBOL guests next summer. The 2016 Copa America Centenario was held between CONMEBOL and CONCACAF teams in the United States, but negotiations to create something similar in 2020 broke down.

Mexico has been involved in all the Copa Americas since 1993, but missed out this year.

Martino's former Newell's Old Boys teammate and Paraguay manager Eduardo Berizzo suggested last week that guest countries shouldn't come from outside the continent.

"If we played [the Copa America] between American teams it would be logical," said Berizzo in a press conference after Paraguay's 2-2 draw with Qatar. "We should imagine a Copa America integrating with Central and North America.

"I've never seen a European Championship where they invite South American teams. It sounds hostile to say it today, with our opponent being Qatar, but I firmly believe that the Copa America should be played with American teams."

Martino also demanded that his Mexico side does not ease off against Martinique on Sunday in Bank of America Stadium. El Tri defeated Cuba 7-0 in its first match in Group A and overcame Canada 3-1 to take control of Group A in the Gold Cup.

"What you have to do is go into every game imagining we are playing the best," said Martino. "That's the point we're most trying to respect; playing against Cuba and Martinique in the same way we'd do so against Canada, Panama or the United States."

Midfielder Erick Gutierrez will be out of the game for Mexico with a right hamstring injury that will sideline him for two weeks, according to a Mexican federation statement, although there was confirmation from Martino that previous injury concerns Rodolfo Pizarro, Hector Moreno and Carlos Salcedo will all be available.


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