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Mexico
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Layun: Osorio didn't deserve fan criticism

Mexico
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 By Tom Marshall

Mexico's Juan Carlos Osorio backed by players ahead of World Cup - Jesus Corona

MOSCOW -- Mexico goalkeeper Jesus Corona said that the players are fully behind manager Juan Carlos Osorio even if he isn't popular among fans.

Osorio has had a difficult relationship with a section of Mexico's fanbase and media, but the players want to show their support for him during the World Cup.

"There is full confidence in coach Osorio," Corona said in a news conference on Wednesday. "All the group is backing him. We know about the atmosphere in some of the games and that his way of coaching hasn't been accepted, but from the players' side, he has full backing.

"We have to show the trust we have for him in each one of the games [in Russia]."

El Tri practiced on Tuesday with two holding midfielders, perhaps indicating what Osorio is thinking for team's opener against Germany on Sunday.

Corona believes that the team will have to keep things tight defensively at Luzhniki Stadium whatever the formation is and remains confident that Mexico can do the defending champions damage at the other end of the pitch.

"Against national teams of such quality, you have to play with a lot of defensive order, not give them spaces," said the Cruz Azul keeper, who is at his third World Cup. "We know in big spaces they become strong. They have players that can mark the difference in an open pitch.

"We can go out with defensive order, reduce the spaces and from there, take advantage of the spaces that they can leave in the defensive zone, factoring in as well the quality of our players as well.

"We have attacking players that are dynamic [and] can destabilize and in wide spaces, they can make an impact."



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Mexico's record at the World Cup has been remarkably consistent, with El Tri going out in the round of 16 at the last six tournaments, although Corona hopes the squad's experience will help it reach the latter stages this time.

"The difference is that the national team has young players who have experience and strong careers," Corona said. "That is something that stands out -- players who internationally have had the experience of being able to play in the best leagues and have had good results.

"We've known each other from previous World Cup processes and that, I think, gives us an advantage. I believe that the time this group has been playing together can be the difference."

Meanwhile, defender Diego Reyes was dropped from the World Cup squad on Wednesday with a hamstring injury, with midfielder Erick Gutierrez, who is already in Russia with the squad, replacing him.

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

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