Soccer  

Guillermo Ochoa blasts media over negative Mexico coverage

Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa has criticized media coverage of the team ahead of their World Cup opener against Poland on Tuesday.

Mexico head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino has faced increasing pressure in the media heading into the tournament in Qatar with the side having lost four of their last nine games.

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“It has turned into a show … we don’t even talk about the sport anymore,” Ochoa told a news conference on Monday, adding he believes much of Mexican football media prioritizes clicks and social media engagement.

“All of the sudden a headline will say one thing, and then you view the article and it has nothing to do with the headline.”

Ochoa took particular aim at speculation over the fitness of striker Raul Jimenez, who recently recovered from a lengthy groin injury.

“It’s unjust a lot of times towards him [Jimenez], because they film a five-second video and they say he’s not doing well. They don’t even have any necessary information to report what really happened. It’s sad,” Ochoa said.

Tensions with media were also seen during Martino’s news conference. ESPN reporter Rafael Ramos traded verbal jabs with the Mexico coach while debating the “intensity” of the squad — eventually ending once a FIFA representative grabbed the microphone away from Ramos.

“If you’re asking me if the Mexican national team has lacked intensity in the last year, I would tell you no and I have no other answer to give you, because you think exactly something else,” Martino said.

Ochoa lamented the lack of questions over Mexico’s Group C clash with Poland, saying 16 minutes into the news conference: “It’s the first question that I’ve been asked about the games we are about to play.”

Ochoa added: “We know that in such a short tournament, starting with three points is fundamental. They [Poland] have a team and roster with very talented players, a lot of quality, that play in strong leagues. They’re not going to make the game easy.”

One of the main focuses of Martino’s squad selection has centered on the striker spot, with Jimenez under pressure from alternates Rogelio Funes Mori and Henry Martin.

Martino said he has already decided who he will start upfront, but refused to reveal his plan.

“I have it defined, but as always, I don’t give out the team. I will not do it in this case,” Martino said.

Mexico will face Argentina on Saturday and Saudi Arabia on Nov. 30 in their remaining group stage matches. If El Tri qualify for the knockout round, it would mark the eight consecutive World Cup in which they’ve done so, although they have been knocked out in the Round of 16 on all of those occasions.