Guillermo Ochoa feels it is only right that Mexico fans are finally backing Juan Carlos Osorio ahead of the match against Sweden in Ekaterinburg on Wednesday.
Supporters had often voiced their considerable displeasure with the head coach amid a series of inconsistent performances during his tenure, including a humiliating 7-0 Copa America defeat to Chile in 2016, followed by the shock 1-0 loss to Jamaica in the semi-finals of last year's Gold Cup.
That fraught relationship has been transformed into a love affair in Russia, where Mexico stunned World Cup holders Germany and then dispatched South Korea 2-1 to close in on a place in the round of 16.
"It is very deserved that the fans recognised the coach," goalkeeper Ochoa told a news conference at the team's training base.
"He's a very dedicated and passionate person, always looking to learn. He's a football almanac, he lives for football and the Mexican players."
Mexico are in a commanding position at the top of Group F, although Germany's dramatic late winner in a 2-1 victory over Sweden means, should results go against them on the final matchday, El Tri could yet fail to progress.
"We were in the airport when we heard [about the Germany goal]," Ochoa said. "Honestly, we didn't do any calculations, or mathematics.
"Regardless of how Germany did against Sweden, we were always going to play for first position in the group in the third game against Sweden."
Sweden sit third in the group, level on three points and with the same goal difference of zero as Germany, leaving Sebastian Larsson and his team-mates to make a simple calculation.
"I know that if we win, we continue," he said.
"If we win with more [goals] than Germany wins, we win the group. I'm not going to say we're a better team, but I believe in our group.
"We have shown that we can give the best teams great difficulties. We know we have to play as close to the top level as we can."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Mexico - Andres Guardado
PSV star Hirving Lozano and West Ham's Javier Hernandez have grabbed the spotlight for Mexico so far in Russia, but captain Andres Guardado has been a key figure at the base of El Tri's midfield, marshalling his team-mates and combining well with fellow pivot Hector Herrera to break up opposition attacks and trigger his own team's forays forward.
Sweden - Jimmy Durmaz
A late substitute against Germany, Jimmy Durmaz gave away the foul that allowed Toni Kroos to score Germany's stunning late winner. Should he play, all eyes will be on the forward's response to the racist social media abuse he received in the wake of the incident, and which prompted Sweden's squad to issue of united condemnation of the perpetrators.
KEY OPTA STATS:
- Mexico have never won three consecutive matches at the World Cup and could become the first CONCACAF team to achieve this feat in World Cup history.
- Sweden's defeat to Germany was their first in the group stage of the World Cup since 1990, when they lost 2-1 to Costa Rica.
- Sweden's Ola Toivonen did not score in 23 matches for Toulouse in Ligue 1 in the 2017-18, failing with all 19 of his shots – at the 2018 World Cup, Toivonen has scored one goal from just two shots.
- Sweden registered just 24 per cent possession in their 2-1 defeat to Germany, their lowest figure in a World Cup match since 1966.
|Cech accepts performances key to securing Arsenal stay|
|Monchi rules out Spain return amid Barcelona rumours|
|Durham skittled for 61 and 66 on the same day|
|Kane isn´t a machine – Lamela defends misfiring Spurs star|
|Hazard left out of Chelsea squad for PAOK trip|
|Tiger feels close to ending drought after achieving Tour Championship goal|
|Leno in line for Arsenal chance in Europa League|
|Gazidis leaves Arsenal in good shape, insists Emery|
|Eagles bring back WR Matthews, place Wallace on IR|
|England include Stokes, Hales and uncapped seamer Stone in ODI squad|
|Suwon Bluewings 0 Jeonbuk Motors 3 (aet, 4-2 on penalties): Quarter-final comeback ends in spot-kick|
|Australia captain Paine ready to slog it out with Pakistan|
|Nadal pulls out of China Open & Shanghai Masters with knee injury|
|Ostapenko begins Korea Open defence with victory|
|Joshua v Povetkin: How Olympic super heavyweight champions have fared|
|Liverpool ´made a point´ with PSG victory - Gomez|
|Osaka wows Tokyo crowd on WTA return|
|Excited Povetkin arrives in England for Joshua showdown|
|Kovac patience with Sanches set to reap rewards|
|Kovac: Madrid strong without Ronaldo, Messi is the best|
|ATP suspends umpire Lahyani over Kyrgios ´pep talk´ at US Open|
|North and South Korea seek to co-host 2032 Olympics|
|Ampadu signs long-term Chelsea contract|
|Don´t blame Neymar, PSG players all guilty - Thiago Silva|
|Real Madrid seek to plug Ronaldo scoring gap – Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Brewers allow Cardinals to inch closer with loss to Reds|
|Manchester is still red – Depay ahead of Lyon´s clash with City|
|Orioles become first pro team to wear braille jerseys|
|Klopp hails ´brilliant´ Henderson|
|PSG attack lacked aggression, says Tuchel|
|Atletico Tucuman 0 Gremio 2: Libertadores holders draw first blood in QFs|
|Thomas plays down wrist worry|
|Rakitic wants more from Barcelona hat-trick hero Messi|
|My players aren´t s*** – Pochettino defends Spurs squad|
|Cubs reliever Morrow won´t return this season|
|Tebow expected to be back in Mets organisation next season|
|Inter can compete against anyone – Icardi revels in Champions League victory|
|Tuchel: PSG loss to Liverpool not logical or correct|
|Sturridge in best shape I´ve seen – Klopp|
|Milojevic celebrates ´fantastic´ occasion after Red Star´s 26-year wait|
|Rodrigo and Simeone salute Griezmann display|
|Seahawks DE Clark on Bears QB Trubisky: He´s nothing special|
|Carroll says Wilson has been ´over-trying a little bit´|
|Judge returns to Yankees´ starting lineup|
|Napoli boss Ancelotti takes aim at Red Star time wasting|
|Favre admits young Dortmund stars struggled in Bruges|
|Otavio would trade goal for Porto victory as he bemoans Schalke draw|
|Championship Review: Pacesetters Leeds crush Preston, Villa end five-game winless run|
|Neymar world-class but not a defender - Klopp says Liverpool targeted PSG star|
|Waiters injury update: Heat guard unlikely to be ready for start of season|
|Gojowczyk eliminates returning Tsonga in Metz|
|Liverpool enjoying best start in 57 years after PSG win|
|Galatasaray 3 Lokomotiv Moscow 0: Terim´s side make light work of Russians|
|Club Brugge 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Super sub Pulisic scores late winner|
|Schalke 1 Porto 1: Fahrmann saves one penalty, but Otavio scores another|
|Red Star Belgrade 0 Napoli 0: Points shared as Italians fail to make possession pay|
|Liverpool 3 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Firmino strikes late as Reds edge five-goal thriller|
|Monaco 1 Atletico Madrid 2: Costa and Gimenez seal comfortable win|
|Chaos reigns in Serie B as league denies suspension claim|
|India secure Asia Cup victory despite valiant Hong Kong effort|
|Messi makes "extraordinary routine", says Valverde after Barca star surpasses Ronaldo|
|Spalletti´s Inter to take heart from Tottenham turnaround|
|Casillas features in landmark 20th Champions League campaign|
|Spurs deserved more from best performance of the season - Pochettino|
|Brown absent from Steelers facility on Monday due to ´personal matter´|
|Toronto´s Bussey given eight-match biting ban|
|Barcelona 4 PSV 0: Marvellous Messi lights up Camp Nou|
|Inter 2 Tottenham 1: Icardi, Vecino complete dramatic late turnaround|
|Allegri, Chiellini defend Costa over spitting ban|
|Firmino only fit enough for bench duty|