Matt Doherty has tipped Mexico to edge Poland at the World Cup today, and says the nation having Wolves striker Raul Jimenez is a bonus.
Mexico kick off their campaign at Stadium 974, and are seeking a positive result against the team ranked 26th in the world.
Tata Martino’s side come into the tournament in mixed form, having lost their final friendly match to Sweden but won against Colombia the game before that.
A lot of the talk about Mexico has revolved around Wolves star Jimenez, who has been fighting to be fit for the tournament for the past couple of months.
He has not played for Wolves since the 0-0 draw with Bournemouth at the end of August.
Jimenez played 45 minutes in that game against Sweden, but is still not quite fit enough to start games.
Former Wolves full-back Doherty, who left the club to join Tottenham Hotspur for £15 million in 2020, has been interviewed by Spurs about his feelings ahead of today’s action at the World Cup.
He is predicting Mexico to win their opening game.
He said (via Spurs official): “Mexico-Poland, Mexico are a dangerous team, they seem to qualify for every major tournament and have exciting players. Raul Jimenez is in the squad, a player I know well, and that’s a bonus for them. Poland, also good players including Lewandowski. That looks like a close game to me, maybe a draw, maybe Mexico edge that one.”
Jimenez might be in the squad, but he has not made today’s starting XI.
He’s on the bench against Poland, and it remains to be seen how many minutes, if any at all, he will get.
Jimenez was filmed in training over the weekend and supposedly looked like he was still struggling with his injury.
But Mexico stopper Guillermo Ochoa appeared to rubbish those suggestions, stating he’d seen him training hard.
Raul Jimenez is Mexico’s talisman, but his influence is likely to be muted in Qatar
It is great for Jimenez to be with the Mexico national team at the World Cup. It will most likely be his last.
He is usually the team’s talisman. But his injury problems will likely mean he won’t have a great deal of influence in Qatar.
In that game with Sweden, he looked very lethargic, which was to be expected.
He hasn’t played properly for months, so it could be difficult for him to make much of an impact if he does get minutes.
Wolves fans will simply hope he returns to Compton Park in a few weeks’ time unscathed.