Andre Blake on facing Mexico in Copa America: ‘Always tough to play vs El Tri’

Jamaican national team goalkeeper Andre Blake expects a difficult match against Mexico when facing the Concacaf rival in the upcoming Copa America group stage. 

Blake led the Reggae Boyz to history, inspiring the 4-4 draw on aggregate against Canada to qualify for the 2024 Copa America on away goals. The dramatic result will see Jamaica feature in the Concacaf/Conmebol tournament for the first time ever. 

“It meant the world. That’s my home country, I give everything to them. To be able to qualify for Copa, that was big time. It’s probably the biggest tournament we are going to be a part of, except for maybe the 2026 World Cup,” he said exclusively to 90min.

“I’m really looking forward to it. The other players are really looking forward to it. We want to go out there and give a really good account for ourselves.”

Jamaica joined Group B, competing alongside Mexico, Venezuela and Ecuador for a spot in the Round of 16. The Conmebol rivals may be a relatively new experience for the Reggae Boyz, but Blake knows El Tri well. 

“It’s always tough to play against Mexico.  I’ve managed to beat them before so I know what that was like, I know what it takes. But looking forward to it, you know, it should be a really, really, really good game.

“We’ve been starting to really identify what we’re capable of doing and hopefully we can keep building and, we can give a really good account for ourselves in this group stage. But It’s always more difficult to play against a team that you have played before, especially if that team is somewhat better than you. They have the advantage,” he added. 

Jamaica holds a 2W-4D-8L record against the Mexican national team in the last 14 games, most recently beating the Concacaf opponent on July 23, 2017 in a 1-0 victory during the Gold Cup. 

“There’s always this mental thing that I think is very important in soccer, you know. They kind of know you inside out, they know what works for them, what they need to do. So it’s always harder, you know, to really play against a team that you have played before, especially one that’s a little higher than you.

“We know that it’s definitely not going to be easy, but we have a chance. If we go out there and apply ourselves, we really have a chance to make it out of the group stage. So, I’m looking forward to that.”

Before heading to Copa America, Jamaica will face the US men’s national team in the Concacaf Nations League semifinal on March 21. The Reggae Boyz are also set to face Dominican Republic and Dominica in World Cup qualifiers on June 6 and June 9. 

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