Mexico squad was suffering from flu during Germany win - Juan Carlos Osorio
MOSCOW -- Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio has confirmed that El Tri managed to defeat Germany on Sunday despite a flu bug in the camp and has hinted that he won't be making major changes to the team for Saturday's Group F match against South Korea.
Osorio's team provided the shock result of the tournament so far by overcoming the reigning world champions 1-0. What's even more impressive is that the team was not at full strength.
"We'll give [the starters from Sunday] the chance to recover not just from the exertion of the game, but also from a small flu that has affected the group, from which almost all the players are now recovering," Osorio said Monday night in an exclusive interview on ESPN's Jorge Ramos y Su Banda podcast.
"[Against Germany] a number of the players were unwell, and that's one of the reasons we took into consideration with the substitutions around the 60th minute."
Osorio has been lauded for the way the Mexican side took the game to a Germany team that is considered one of the favorites to lift the World Cup, and the manager says the key was El Tri's wingers taking advantage of the space behind the full-backs.
"We know that they were going to come out and play, that basically they would end up with two center-backs in a horizontal line and, balanced or not, Toni Kroos remained [deep] to control the game [and] the two full-backs moved up into [Mexico's] defensive third," Osorio said.
Although Osorio is known for his rotation policy, the 56-year-old is unlikely to change things too much for Saturday game against South Korea in Rostov, with five full days between games.
"I think the debate about rotations is one that doesn't stand up," Osorio said in Spanish in a phone interview. "I've stated on many occasions that in the games with points at stake that seven or eight players, or even nine players, are always there, and [against Germany] that was not the exception.
"I think that when we really analyze it, a team that normally has seven, eight or nine [regular] players shows consistency in its starting XI. However, there is always the possibility of two or three tactical alternatives, without any doubt."
One of the possible changes moving forward in the tournament could involve Hirving Lozano. Osorio indicated that the 22-year-old goal-scoring hero against Germany may not have his spot secured for the final group game against Sweden.
"With [Sweden's] well-defined 4-4-2, they will leave very little space behind the defensive line," Osorio said.
"Hirving [Lozano] at speed is such an influential player; without space, when he can't use his speed, we get into the debate over whether we need a winger that can succeed more through craft than speed. I think all that is debatable."
There also was some sad news in the Mexico camp on Monday, with Carlos Vela confirming that his grandfather passed away back in Mexico. The Los Angeles FC player wrote in a message that his grandfather had watched El Tri defeat Germany.
"The last victory that you got to see, grandad," Vela wrote on Instagram. "I hope you left very proud of me."
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.