Mexico vs Costa Rica

Mexico vs Costa Rica : Mexico and Costa Rica renew their regional rivalry Tuesday with a friendly at Tigres’ Estadio Universitario.

The venue, better known as El Volcan, rarely hosts Mexico with El Tri playing most World Cup qualification matches at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca and opting for lucrative friendly matches in the United States.

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The visit to the north will be special. Though the national team still is working with an interim manager, Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti will lead the national team in front of the fans who typically cheer him during Tigres matches.

Ferretti has called in seven players based in Europe for this contest, with many of the stars of the previous World Cup cycle staying with their clubs, as they did in September. Star winger Hirving Lozano is back, and Nestor Araujo is set for his first Mexico appearance since suffering a knee injury in March. Diego Reyes also is in the squad after missing the World Cup with injury as well.

While they are on the roster for the match, left-back Jesus Gallardo and midfielders Jonathan Gonzalez and Javier Guemez only joined up with the team Wednesday after Tuesday night’s Copa MX match between Monterrey and Queretaro.

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Potential Mexico XI: Gonzalez; Rodriguez, Alvarez, Araujo, Angulo; Damm, Duenas, Gutierrez, Lozano; Jimenez, Martin

After many missed out on the Ticos’ brief (and unsuccessful) visit to Asia, many of Costa Rica’s biggest names are part of this roster. Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas, Sporting attacker Bryan Ruiz and Espanyol center back Giancarlo Gonzalez are among those called up by interim manager Ronald Gonzalez this time around.

He’s also brought in domestic standouts, such as Herediano midfielder Jimmy Marin, Saprissa midfielder Jaylon Hadden and Alajuelense midfielder Barlon Sequeira.

Potential Costa Rica XI: Navas; Gamboa, Gonzalez, Duarte, Waston, Matarrita; Ramirez, Segura, Cruz; Ruiz; Campbell

Mexico and Costa Rica often meet in Concacaf play but rarely do battle in a friendly. The teams meet Thursday with nothing on the line but pride for only the third time since 2000.

Costa Rica is in poor form, with its last victory coming in a pre-World Cup friendly match against Northern Ireland. After that 3-0 win on June 6, Costa Rica has drawn one and lost six matches. That includes two more matches ahead of Russia, group play in the World Cup and defeats to South Korea and Japan in September.

Of course, Mexico has lost four straight for the first time in recent memory. There was the 3-0 loss to Sweden to close out group play, the loss to Brazil in the knockouts and defeats to Uruguay and the United States in September.

Neither team is too concerned with the latest results, with each bringing an interim manager into Thursday’s clash. Costa Rica has the knowledge of who its new manager will be, with Gustavo Matosas confirmed as the new boss Tuesday.

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