Mexico v Paraguay: Marquez ready to make the most of 'great opportunity'


Rafael Marquez is hoping Mexico can take advantage of the "great opportunity" ahead of them as they step up preparations for the Copa America Centenario with a friendly versus Paraguay. 

Mexico are unbeaten in their last 17 games and will look to build momentum after receiving an invitation to the Copa America for the 10th successive time.

They have reached the final twice in 1993 and 2001 and will be expected to progress from the group stage at the 100th anniversary tournament having been drawn alongside Uruguay, Venezuela and Jamaica in Group C.

And, ahead of Saturday's warm-up with 2011 runners-up Paraguay at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, captain Marquez believes Juan Carlos Osorio's side have their best possible chance of winning the competition for the first time.

"We have a great opportunity [to win it], but we have to take it game-by-game," Marquez - who has been capped 129 times by Mexico - said.

"It is going to take a lot of work, because there are a lot of other national teams with a lot of quality.

"Within the team there is a commitment of wanting to win, to fight with everything and make the final of the competition."

Paraguay have been handed a tougher possible route through to the quarter-finals, with Ramon Diaz's men pitted against hosts United States, Colombia and Costa Rica in Group A.

Their recent record in the competition is impressive, following up on their run to the final five years ago - when Paraguay were beaten 3-0 by Uruguay - with a fourth-place finish in Chile last year.

With just one win in the last five games, Paraguay are not in the best vein of form, however, winger Edgar Benitez is relishing the opportunity to impress at a major tournament and insists the entire squad is ready to prove their worth on the international stage. 

"There is not one player who wants to miss out on this tournament or who refuses to play for the national team," Benitez said.

"In our country there are few opportunities to draw attention from abroad, and if we want a better way of life, we have to take advantage of the international spotlight."