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Appiah reiterates importance of Mexico clash

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 By Tom Marshall

Mexico needs more players competing abroad to win titles - Osorio

Dos Santos Osorio training
Juan Carlos Osorio believes that Mexico need more exposure abroad to be considered among the elites.

El Tri coach Juan Carlos Osorio isn't personally weighed down by the expectations of his job, but does believe that the demands in Mexico for its national team are inflated.

Osorio suggested in a recent interview with Spanish publication Marca that he gets misinterpreted in Mexico when he has claims that El Tri isn't at the level of some of the most successful national teams in world football, but it's a sentiment he has stated more than once.

"Demanding in Argentina or Brazil that [their national team] is champion is normal and not only because of the history," said Osorio. "Brazil has more than 100 players abroad. We [Mexico] have 13 in Europe."

"Historically those countries [Argentina, Brazil] have won World Cups or played finals," he continued, adding later: "It is coherent to demand titles. Mexico can't demand titles. We should aspire to win them, of course."

Mexico's best performances at World Cups have been two quarterfinals in 1970 and 1986, when it was the host nation. The team has gone out at the Round of 16 stage of every World Cup since 1994.

Osorio said he has spoken to the likes of Marcelo Bielsa, Jorge Sampaoli, Juanma Lillo, Jorge Valdano and others about how to make Mexico a protagonist at elite level. The Colombian suggested the step up would be made more complicated due to the level of competition in CONCACAF.

"It is a step we need to make between ourselves, but unfortunately, and hopefully you understand me clearly, Mexico doesn't have the competition that the great South American or European national teams have," said Osorio.

"We don't have it in CONCACAF. Argentina and Brazil aren't there. Only by competing with them will you get that jump in quality and that isn't the case with Mexico."

Osorio has been in Europe for the last few weeks visiting Mexico's players and also dropped in to see Ernesto Valverde at Athletic Bilbao, Niko Kovac at Eintracht Frankfurt and spent time with Sampaoli and his coaching staff at Sevilla.

The Colombian made positive comments about the current form Diego Reyes, Jonathan dos Santos, Carlos Vela and Guillermo Ochoa and said Pachuca winger Hirving Lozano -- currently injured -- would be perfect for La Liga.

Mexico's squad to face Costa Rica in Estadio Azteca (March 24) and Trinidad and Tobago (March 28) in Port of Spain is due to be released on Thursday.

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.

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