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Goal-shy Mexico will turn to Napoli’s Lozano for attacking firepower

As Mexico head to the World Cup shy of goals and with a squad ravaged by injuries, a great deal of attacking responsibility rests on the shoulders of Lozano.

Mexico's forward Hirving Lozano gestures during the international friendly football match between Mexico and Peru at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on September 24, 2022. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP)

Napoli’s Hirving Lozano sent Mexican fans into a frenzy when his goal helped the team stun holders Germany at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and supporters will be hoping ‘Chucky’ is at the peak of his powers when they play in Qatar.

While the Napoli winger has started eight out of 15 games for the Serie A side this season and bagged only three goals, he has the pace and skill to unlock the tightest of defences.

Hirving Lozano of SSC Napoli
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Hirving Lozano of SSC Napoli DeFodi ImagesGetty

Capable of playing on either flank and through the centre, the versatile Lozano will be a much-needed source of firepower for Mexico’s frontline, which could be without the injured duo of Raul Jimenez and Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona at the World Cup.

With 16 goals and 11 assists in 59 international appearances, Lozano is a vital cog in Mexico’s attack, boasting all the attributes of a classic inverted winger.

The 27-year-old missed some games for Mexico this year with a shoulder injury but will draw confidence from his performance in their 1-0 friendly win over Peru in September when he ended an eight-game drought with a late winner.

Apart from the goals and creativity Lozano offers, the winger could also be an unexpected leader for coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino’s side.

“After so many years in Europe, obviously it makes a footballer evolve in every way,” Martino told broadcaster TUDN.

“It’s clear that he is evolving, not only in the soccer part but also in the professional part and in the human part.”

Mexico's forward Hirving Lozano (L) reacts after scoring
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Mexico's forward Hirving Lozano (L) reacts after scoringROBYN BECKAFP

Lozano will hope for more playing time with Napoli before making the trip to Qatar in order to give Mexico their best chance of getting out of Group C, which also includes Argentina, Poland and Saudi Arabia.