Mexico losing Álvarez at Copa América would be ‘heavy blow’

Mexico coach Jaime Lozano has said that losing captain Edson Álvarez to injury “would be a heavy blow” to the national team in their ongoing Copa América run.

“I think he’s leaving the hotel now to do the examination,” said Lozano about medical tests for the West Ham United midfielder ahead of Mexico’s group stage game with Venezuela on Wednesday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. “It was his first tournament as captain of this team and it would be a heavy blow.

“He’s expressed that he wants to stay with the group, that he wants to stay here. We’ll see what happens, depending on what the examination shows.”

Álvarez, 26, limped out of Mexico’s Copa opener vs. Jamaica after hitting the ground and clutching his left hamstring following a counter from the opposition in the first half.

Despite El Tri going on to win the game 1-0 thanks to a lovely strike from Gerardo Arteaga, the result was a bittersweet one for Lozano and his men as they await to see the results of tests on Alvarez’s injury expected to be carried out on Tuesday.

Whether the midfielder would continue his rehabilitation during the Copa with Mexico if the injury is significant, or return to England, remains up in the air.

“We’ll see. I don’t know if the decision is entirely ours or his, his club will also have a lot of weight in what the club wants and what is decided between the three parties,” Lozano said. “His intention is to be here, obviously to support.

“He saw himself this summer being with the national team and I think he wants to fulfill that. We’ll see, let’s wait for the result [of the examination].”

In his place, Lozano said that 27-year-old Almeria defender César Montes would now take the captain’s armband.

“Now it’s César‘s turn to captain and I think he’s going to help us a lot too,” Lozano said. “The same with Julio [Gonzalez], Johan [Vasquez], I like to see soccer a little from the back going forward and I think they are the people who have a bit more stability.”

Depending on the result of the other Group B matchup between Ecuador and Jamaica, both Mexico and Venezuela are seeking to possibly secure a spot in the Copa knockout round with a win on Wednesday.

Following the second round of games, Group B will close out with Mexico playing Ecuador and Jamaica taking on Venezuela Sunday.