PHOENIX, Arizona – Saturday’s 3-0 win over Honduras in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinals was a big night for a pair of Mexico players, but for varying reasons.
For DF Alan Cervantes, it marked his debut in a Gold Cup, as he played the final nine minutes of the match after replacing Edson Alvarez. Appearing in an official Concacaf tournament for the first time is something the 23-year-old will always remember.
“I’ve dreamed of it since I was five years old, so it’s a dream what I am living,” said Cervantes in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
“I’m hugely grateful to God, to my family and all the people who have been there throughout the years to help me become what I am. I’m also thankful to the coaching staff for giving me this opportunity,” added Cervantes.
Needless to say, Cervantes has always been attentive to Gold Cup tournaments since he can remember, so recalling his fondest memory growing up while watching Mexico play in the tournament was no problem.
“What I remember most from a Gold Cup when I was a young kid is from the  final when Gio [Dos Santos] scored that goal from an incredible angle against the United States. I think that’s the best memory I have of a Gold Cup,” added Cervantes.
Playing on Saturday night in Glendale, Arizona’s State Farm Stadium was also special for MF Rodolfo Pizarro, who played in his first Mexico game since March by coming on as a substitute to replace Jesus Corona in the 85’.
Pizarro scored the winning goal in Mexico’s 1-0 win over Honduras at State Farm Stadium in the 2017 Gold Cup quarterfinals, and then was a key part of Mexico’s 1-0 semifinal triumph over Haiti in the 2019 Gold Cup, also played at State Farm Stadium.
“I’m happy to be able to play again for the national team and in this stadium I have very good memories,” said Pizarro to Concacaf.com. “It’s special to be here and play here again.”
The win for Mexico also marks the end of Honduras’ journey in the tournament, but MF Bryan Acosta stressed that the most important thing for Honduras now is to turn their focus to qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
“It was a tough game, even with all of the players unavailable, we still wanted to go for the game, we always tried to do things well, to do what the coach asks us to do,” said Acosta to Concacaf.com. “But I’m left with the fight and the effort of my teammates. We wanted more, but sadly it didn’t happen. Now we have to get our heads up and get ready for what’s coming, which are the World Cup Qualifiers, which are very important,” concluded Acosta.