Andres Guardado: Mexico setting World Cup sights higher in 2018
BRUSSELS -- Mexico's mentality will be to win the 2018 World Cup come next summer's event in Russia, says captain Andres Guardado.
El Tri has gone out in the round of 16 at every World Cup since 1994, and has never got past the quarterfinals outside of Mexico, but Real Betis' Guardado says his team's goal has to go beyond the barrier of simply reaching the "fifth game."
"We talk about achieving something different at the World Cup, of getting rid of past ghosts," Guardado said at the news conference for Friday's friendly against Belgium. "But we put the bar higher than reaching a fifth game."
"Once we've achieved that obsession or whatever you call it, the limit doesn't exist," he continued.
"Hopefully we can be champions or reach the final."
"A lot of people will call me crazy, but that is the mentality of the group and that is the intention: to finally achieve something historic for Mexico."
El Tri -- ranked 16th in the world by FIFA -- will face a stiff test of its World Cup credentials against fifth-ranked Belgium in King Baudouin Stadium, but Guardado says Mexico will stay true to its possession-based style against a side that scored 43 goals in its 10 World Cup qualifiers this cycle.
"We are going to fight for possession, we won't give up the style we have," said the 31-year-old Guardado. "Our strengths aren't long balls or sitting back. We are players that like to have the ball. We'll try to compete and impose our style."
Guardado pointed out that Roberto Martinez's Belgium side will likely also look to attack, and said the game represents a test for El Tri outside the comfort zone of North America.
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.