June 26, 2018 / 1:54 PM / in 4 months

Needing one point, Osorio says Mexico to go for three v Sweden

YEKATERINBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio said his team would stick to its attacking style and play for a win against Sweden on Wednesday, even though a draw would be good enough to see them into the last 16 at the World Cup.

Soccer Football - World Cup - Mexico News Conference - Ekaterinburg Arena, Yekaterinburg, Russia - June 25, 2018 Mexico's coach Juan Carlos Osorio and Javier Hernandez during news conference REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

Mexico lead Group F with six points, three more than Sweden and Germany, and in theory they could afford to sit back and force the Swedes to make the running.

But Osorio, relishing the improvement in the team’s performances that has helped to silence his many critics at home, said Mexico would stay true to the brand of play that led them to a stunning 1-0 win over Germany and a 2-1 victory over South Korea.

“I think that won’t change. We’re going to go out there to try and secure the three points,” he told reporters when asked about Mexico’s front-runner advantage.

“That might be a factor but it’s not the most important thing. That will not have an impact on our style of play and our strategy.”

Striker Javier Hernandez, whose 50 international goals make him Mexico’s all-time top scorer, put the team’s World Cup campaign so far into context.

“We still haven’t qualified properly, we haven’t confirmed our progress, but who would have said we would have had six points by now in this group?” he said.

“We are facing an opponent that knows how to work very well. This is the Group of Death,” he added, saying Mexico had a “magnificent opportunity to break that ceiling” after falling at the last-16 stage in each of the last six World Cups.

“Let’s let football speak for itself. We are highly motivated, we’re very, very confident,” he said.

Coach Osorio brushed off a suggestion that some of his players risked being distracted by rumours that their showing in Russia could prompt buying interest from European clubs.

He said those already playing in Europe - including Hernandez and winger Hirving Lozano - were showing great form at the World Cup.

“I wish all my players were sought after by European clubs.”

Additional reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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