After sitting out the last two Copa America championships, Mexico will be making a triumphant return this summer.

Following their 2016 quarterfinal appearance, El Tri sat out both 2019 and 2021. In spite of such omissions, Jaime Lozano’s squad is considered a dark horse contender for American gold.

But presently, the 2024 Copa America presents a formidable obstacle for the Mexican national squad. They may have escaped group-stage heavyweights like Brazil and Argentina thanks to their seeding, but they still face quality competition.

El Tri will play in Group B with Ecuador, Venezuela, and Jamaica for the tournament. Therefore, they are anticipated to at least make it to the knockout rounds of the game. Also, the major issue is that Lionel Messi may be waiting for Mexico in the quarterfinals if they don’t win Group B as favorites.

Which Mexico players will miss Copa America?

Following his appointment as national team coach in June 2023, Lozano wasted no time getting to work. In fact, the past summer, his squad won the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

However, the renowned team may be getting ready for some major adjustments now that they’re facing a troubling circumstance. Since Mexico will be hosting the 2026 World Cup, supporters have been demanding a fresh roster of players for the national team in recent months.

It seems that’s exactly what they received. This past Friday, the Mexican Football Federation revealed the roster for the upcoming Copa America event in the US. The team is noticeably missing Guillermo Ochoa, Hirving Lozano, and Raul Jimenez. All three of them participated in a total of ten World Cups.

Coach Jaime Lozano said on Friday that the team’s goal is to bring about a generational shift. In his preliminary 31-man roster, Lozano included 10 players from the under-23 national team. The goal was to cultivate players in preparation for the 2026 World Cup in Mexico, the US, and Canada.

Why did Lozano not call up trio?

The 39-year-old Ochoa has been an integral part of Mexico’s goal for the last three World Cups. Unfortunately, Salernitana dethroned the soon-to-be free agent as their starting goalkeeper in Serie A.

In addition to starting in 2014, 2018, and 2022, Ochoa also appeared in 2006 and 2010 as a replacement for his team. This summer, El Tri will likely move on to Luis Malagon, who will succeed the veteran as their starting goalkeeper.

“I spoke with ‘Memo’ to let him know that I took the decision and that does not mean that he’s out of the process (for the 2026 World Cup). We just want to watch other players”, Mexico manager Jaime Lozano said on Friday.

Meanwhile, after missing the three Copa America tournaments due to injury, 32-year-old Jimenez returned for the 2022 tournament as a replacement. But since December 31, 2023, the striker has gone scoreless in 193 Premier League minutes for Fulham.

In terms of his national team, Jimenez hasn’t seen action since November 18th and has gone uncalled for the last three teams. Henry Martin, a striker who started every game in the World Cup in Qatar, was similarly omitted.

Henry Martin has been omitted from the Mexico squad, generating opportunities for others.
Henry Martin has been omitted from the Mexico squad, generating opportunities for others.

Henry Martin has been omitted from the Mexico squad, generating opportunities for others.

On the other hand, the 28-year-old Lozano just won the Dutch Eredivisie after netting six goals in twenty-two games. “Chucky” Lozano attended the most recent two World Cups.

“It’s always difficult, I don’t like leaving players out of a roster”, the coach added. “It was difficult [to announce it] with everyone, but they made it easier than I thought. They showed solidarity and commitment to the team and they understood it.”

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