Mexico won’t be playing any friendly games in the United States until next summer, while the coronavirus situation surrounding November friendlies in Austria against South Korea and Japan is being monitored daily, according to Mexican federation president Yon de Luisa.
El Tri usually plays five friendly games per year in the United States and it was expected that Mexico would return for next March’s FIFA international window, but the COVID-19 situation means that is unlikely.
“Right now, at the end of October, it is very unlikely that we’ll see El Tri games in the United States in March and it’s more likely that the Mexican national team will be back in the United States in the July FIFA date,” said De Luisa in the SiS Master Class 2020 on Wednesday.
The president added that the federation has been in weekly meetings with Soccer United Marketing (SUM) about a potential return and have been keeping up with ongoings in MLS, NFL and NBA.
“We hope that we have games in the United States with fans in the summer,” said De Luisa.
El Tri was scheduled to play friendlies against the Czech Republic, Greece and Colombia in the first half of 2020, with all the games canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mexico struggled to find a place to play in Europe for November friendlies against South Korea (Nov. 14) and Japan (Nov. 17), but even with the games confirmed, rising coronavirus infections means the federation is monitoring the situation closely.
“We have meetings every 24 hours about the status of those games,” said De Luisa. “Finding a site was very complicated to see where in Europe a group of Mexicans could enter.
“We tried in the Netherlands again [like in the October window], because it worked well, [but] they didn’t give us authorization in November,” added De Luisa. “We looked into Spain, Switzerland and Austria and Austria opened its doors to us.”
De Luisa confirmed that the natural home for Mexican soccer is North America and highlighted the 2026 World Cup as an area of cooperation, but also said there could be a continental tournament in the Americas in 2024 involving both CONCACAF and CONMEBOL teams, as happened in 2016.
“I think the window to have a Copa America or a continental cup back is 2024, hopefully we have that ability, not just supported by the FMF, but by CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, backed by FIFA, in order to have that competition that benefits us all,” he said.
Regarding the 2026 World Cup, De Luisa stated he isn’t in any doubt that stadiums in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey will be given the green light to hold games when the venues for the tournament are confirmed next year.