Monterrey have qualified for the FIFA Club World Cup for the second season in succession and the CONCACAF champions come into the competition full of confidence. Last year they were dumped out by Japanese side Kashiwa Reysol and that was described by their enigmatic manager Manuel Victor Vucetich as ‘a failure’.
This year they arrive rejuvenated with plenty of reasons to be optimistic ahead of their meeting with Ulsan Hyundai. While they will need to be wary of the threat posed by the South Korean side they will consider themselves favourites for the tie.
Vucetich has even gone so far to claim his club could win the entire thing:
“We’ve got a point to prove and our expectations are higher than they were in 2011. Make no mistake: Monterrey can be champions.”
If they are going to go anyway toward fulfilling their respected coach’s lofty ambitions much will depend on the form of their strikers.
In particular Monterrey fans will be hoping to see the best of Chilean striker Humberto Suazo. The clubs record goal-scorer has scored 100 goals for the club had equally impressive scoring tallies at previous clubs Colo-Colo, Audax Italiano and San Luis. He is ably assisted in the striker department by former Argentina international and Lyon forward Cesar Delgado and Mexican international Aldo de Nigris.
Their captain is another Argentine Jose Maria Basante and his commanding displays at the back will be pivotal toward the team keeping the door shut for their opponents. Former Stuttgart defender Ricardo Osorio is also vital; with over 80 caps for the national team his performances will need to be exemplary to give the Mexican side any chance of overall victory.
However there is obvious disappointment that Mexican international Jesus Zavala will not be participating as he has not yet fully recovered from a thigh injury. The manager claimed Zavala was not ready to play at the ‘100 per cent intensity’ required for the competition.
Goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco is also a Mexican international while Severo Meza and Hiram Mier are also key players. Finally Neri Cardozo; a one cap Argentina international adds extra strength in depth and it is that wealth of available talent that should give them the edge over an Ulsan side who rely heavily on their generic first team.
Monterrey will be the favourites to progress into the semi-finals against Corinthians.
What do you make of Monterrey and their chances in the 2012 World Club Cup?
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