The Gold Cup final between the men’s teams from the United States and Mexico is expected to be a physical confrontation, but the managers of both teams started trading shots early on.
US manager Gregg Berhalter called the players to Mexico for their physical play and demanded that the Gold Cup finals be called “fair” by the referees, to ESPN. Berhalter referred to several instances where players in Mexico grabbed opponents by the neck while talking to reporters ahead of the Gold Cup.
He mentioned when Mexican midfielder Hector Herrera grabbed US midfielder Weston McKennie by the throat in the CONCACAF Nations League final on June 6. And in Thursday’s semifinal, when Mexico faced Canada, Mexican Luis Rodriguez was seen grabbing Mark-Anthony Kaye’s neck.
“We want it to be a physical game. We want it to be a tough and contested game, in the same way as Mexico,” Berhalter said. “They want the same thing. But we also want it to be fair, and that’s the role of the referee in this game, to run the game fairly. You know, I’ve seen many times when players from Mexico are grabbing players’ necks and areas of the face, and that has no place in the game. We can’t have it in the game.
“We want our boys to fight. We want both teams to fight. We want it to be physical. But that has no place in the game. When I saw the semi-final [between Canada and Mexico] I didn’t think the referee did a good job of handling it. And they have to anticipate this. There can be no hands on the neck or face. “
Mexico manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino did not bother with the comments and responded when asked what he thought. He raised how Berhalter made an inappropriate gesture to an official during the match against Qatar, but Berhalter later apologized.
“Officer [on Sunday] he will do his best during the match, Martino said. I don’t think it was right how against Qatar [Berhalter] he behaved with the fourth officer “.
The Gold Cup Final is scheduled for Sunday at 8:30 PM ET.
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