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 By Tom Marshall

Mexico's Chucky Lozano can be World Cup's breakout star - Erick Gutierrez

MOSCOW -- Mexico midfielder Erick Gutierrez believes his former Pachuca teammate Hirving Lozano can be the breakout star of the World Cup in Russia.

Lozano enjoyed a blistering debut season with PSV, netting 17 goals in 29 games in the Eredivisie, and is coming into Russia 2018 in form.

"I believe that 'Chucky' [Lozano] could be the revelation of the World Cup because he has grown," said Gutierrez. "We've known each other since we were young, he's very daring regardless of who the opponent is and we hope he has a great World Cup and helps Mexico to advance."

Rumors have linked Lozano with a move away from PSV to clubs in both England and Spain and the winger has been named as a youngster to watch at the tournament.

Midfielder Gutierrez's future has also been the subject of some speculation -- the Netherlands has been reported as a possible destination -- and the 22-year-old cut a delighted figure in the news conference at the team's training base on Thursday.


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Gutierrez found out this week that he would be in Mexico's World Cup squad following the news Diego Reyes has to leave camp due to a hamstring injury. He also became a father.

"I'm very happy to be a father," said Gutierrez. "We were arriving here [at the training center] when my wife was giving birth. I'm very happy, it is a very important week for me, one of the best of my life and I've been seeing [my son] on video calls, waiting to meet him."

Mexico's preparation has been calmer this week, following a scandal about a party that took place after the June 2 win over Scotland.

The media focus has switched to the build-up Sunday's game against reigning world champion Germany and El Tri defender Carlos Salcedo is seeing the game as an opportunity to succeed.

"We will have a great opportunity on Sunday, we've worked hard, but in the end we want to do our talking on the pitch," said Salcedo in the same news conference. "There are 32 teams and not one is invincible in this World Cup.

"I think that we are on the right path and our test will be on Sunday; what better way to start the World Cup."

Mexico captain Rafa Marquez could make history on Sunday by becoming only the third player to feature at five World Cups, but it doesn't look like he'll be talking to the media in Russia.

The Mexican national team is appearing in news conferences based on the squad numbers, with Jesus Corona (one) and Hugo Ayala (two) talking on Wednesday and Salcedo (three) and Gutierrez (five) facing the media on Thursday. The missing number is Marquez (four), who continues to train without sponsorship on his clothing.

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

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