When Jesús Corona broke his left leg during a training session in Sevilla last August, people immediately thought he would miss the World Cup. On the Mexican national team, however, nobody wanted to accept the reality and brace themselves waiting for a miracle.
Sadly for El Tri, now that hope is over: 12 days before the World Cup kick-off, Tecatito has been officially ruled out from the competition.
"Jesús Corona could not be part of the Mexican national team camp road to the Qatar 2022 World Cup," says a press release from the Mexican soccer federation. In the document, they explain the player "hasn't completed his recovery process after the injury."
| NOTAJesús Manuel Corona no formará parte de nuestra concentración rumbo a debido a que no ha completado su proceso de recuperación.
— Selección Nacional (@miseleccionmx) November 8, 2022
In a press conference previous to a friendly against Iraq on Wednesday, coach Gerardo Martino went further.
"We took the decision after we talked with Jesús, the doctors and the physios. And he told me he wasn't fit for the World Cup."
Tecatito Corona injury
Corona got injured training for his club in the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. The player tried to get to a ball when his left leg got stuck, breaking his fibula and ligaments from his ankle.
Tecatito needed surgery, and soon, he started the rehabilitation process. There were a few signs of a speedy recovery that fed hope among Mexican supporters, but at the end of October, Sevilla's coach Jorge Sampaoli gave a reality check.
"Tecatito is progressing day by day. His discharge date to return to training with the group is December 1 or 2," Sampaoli said. "So I do not see him playing at the World Cup due to the medical report. His evolution is good, but he had a very serious injury, and bringing his return forward might be a risk."
| “Tecatito” Corona no iría al mundial de #Qatar2022 con el TRI.Jorge Sampaoli afirma que es muy complicada la lesión que sufrió el mexicano.
Su alta médica estaría lista para el día 2 de diciembre, por lo que estaría prácticamente descartado del mundial.
— Raúl Orvañanos (@RaulOrvananos) October 27, 2022
And he was right.
Who is going to replace Tecatito in the World Cup?
Now the question for the Mexican national team is who is going to fill his spot in Qatar?
Gerardo Martino knew that Tecatito's chances were slim and for this reason, he decided to add a couple of extra wingers to the 31-man list he is working on the road to the World Cup.
But when the list has to be reduced from 31 to 26 – as FIFA requires – one of those wingers will be cut from the squad. And the candidates are Diego Lainez and Roberto Alvarado.
Whoever stays, though, will not be a starter.
In order to replace Tecatito, analysts believe Martino will switch Hirving Lozano from the left to the right wing, opening the doors to Chivas' forward Alexis Vega, who was recently praised by Martino.
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"He is a player heading to the most important tournament he ever played. And he feels that the chance of being a starter is high, so he is proving it every day during the training sessions."
It's worth mentioning Tecatito's absence in Qatar could not be the only one. Another big name struggling to get fit is the striker Raúl Jiménez, who has been battling relentlessly against a groin injury.
So far, his presence in the tournament is still questionable, but the Mexican medical staff is more optimistic about his recovery and will wait for him until Nov. 14 – the last day available to submit the World Cup squads – to decide to include him or not.