Mexico star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez trained separately from his teammates on Monday because of muscle fatigue, the latest concern for a Mexican team that has been struck by injuries at the Confederations Cup.
Defender Diego Reyes also didn’t practice with the team in its final training session before traveling to Sochi for Thursday’s semifinal against Germany. Mexico had already lost defender Carlos Salcedo because of a shoulder injury, while defender Hector Moreno has been a concern with a muscle ailment.
Coach Juan Carlos Osorio is already certain to be without midfielder Andres Guardado because of a yellow card suspension. Chicharito warmed up with the rest of the group in Monday’s practice session in Kazan but left the field after the players met for a few minutes with coach Juan Carlos Osorio.
When one of Osorio’s assistants asked Chicharito about his condition, the player said he was “fine, not a problem.” The Bayer Leverkusen forward ran a few laps around the field accompanied by the team’s physical trainer, then underwent a few stretching exercises on the sidelines. He watched the rest of the training session from the bench.
The team said Chicharito’s absence was a precaution. “He said that he was leaving because he was still a bit tired after the match,” midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos said. “He’s played a lot of matches, a lot of minutes, a lot of practices. He just needs to rest a bit, nothing important.”
Chicharito played the entire game when Mexico came from behind to defeat host Russia 2-1 on Saturday to guarantee its spot in the semifinals of the eight-nation World Cup warm-up event.
He was rested in the 2-1 win over New Zealand, when Osorio rotated his squad because of a concern over injuries. Salcedo sustained his shoulder injury during that game and was forced to be removed from the squad. Reyes was hurt in the game against Russia and remains doubtful for the semifinal. He stayed at the team’s hotel on Monday, undergoing rehab for his muscle injury.
Chicharito scored his only goal of the tournament in the 2-2 opening draw against Portugal last week. Guardado was shown his second yellow against Russia.
“He is a crucial player for us, very important for the team, one of our captains,” Dos Santos said about Guardado. “But we have other players who can make up for his absence.”
Mexico is trying to win the Confederations Cup for the second time. It won the World Cup warm-up event in 1999.