Sat | Jun 3, 2023

We were unlucky, says Hallgrimsson

Published:Tuesday | March 28, 2023 | 1:10 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson
Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson

Following the Reggae Boyz’s hard fought 2-2 draw against Mexico in their Concacaf Nations League A, Group A decider at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City on Sunday, coach Heimir Hallgrimsson believes that his team is more than capable of qualifying for the next World Cup.

The coach asserted after his first official outing with the Boyz that with the quality of players he has available, he is expecting some great things.

“Given the quality of the players, I think we can be a very good team. I think we will not only reach the World Cup, but I think we can do great things at the World Cup in 2026,” he told reporters post-match.

He added that they would continue to look at players in an effort to have the best possible squad going forward.

“There are a lot of tournaments until then, and we are starting a journey to find players and to select players we want on this long journey to 2026. So this is just the beginning for us coaches.”

The Boyz went into their match against the Mexicans needing three points and twice grabbed the lead through Bobby Reid’s incredible volley in the seventh minute and then Edson Alvarez’s 32nd-minute own goal.

But the hosts rallied each time with goals from Orbelin Pineda (17th) and Hirving Lozano (45th-minute penalty) to salvage a point and deny the Jamaicans group honours and a semi-final spot.

Hallgrimsson thought the team was unfortunate on the night and believes that with more work, the group will only get stronger.

“We were unlucky. We had really good openings. We used the space behind Mexico and had a lot of good counterattacks.

“We had really good set pieces, which we should have scored from, so I would say I am disappointed that we did not score more than two goals.

“Of course Mexico had their chances, but I think we had more clear-cut chances, which is down to detail but maybe (we need) more working together to finish these attacks,” he said.

He added that playing against a Mexican team consisting of largely players who participated in the 2022 Qatar World Cup, inside the Azteca was a daunting task and credited the players for their resilience and character.

Although the Mexicans were more synchronised in what they were doing, he was disappointed not to win the game.

“They know each other pretty well, but we are just disappointed we did not win. We wanted to go through to the semi-finals of the Nations League.

“But it was very difficult to play them here (Azteca), especially in this altitude and the atmosphere with fantastic fans.

“This is my first official match, and we are just starting a long journey, so we are trying to improve a lot of things and trying to change a lot of things. But this will take time. I have to be patient, and Jamaica has to be patient,” he said.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com