FIFA World Cup 2014-Team Preview-Mexico
Can Miguel Herrera take Mexico to World Cup glory?
Mexico belongs to the CONCACAF federation and is currently ranked 19th in the Fifa World Rankings. Coached by Mexican defender Miguel Herrera, El Tri are placed in Group A with the hosts and title favorites Brazil, Croatia and Cameroon. The Mexicans have qualified for the world for the fourteenth time; however they have not gone post the quarter final stages of the event. Brazil 2014 would be the sixth consecutive world cup appearance for the El Tri since 1994 and they would be hoping that they can improve on their past dismal record in the world cup. They last qualified past the round of 16 in 1986 when they last hosted the event themselves.
Road to Brazil 2014
Being ranked 2nd in the CONCACAF region in March 2011, Mexico got a bye to the third round of qualification in the region. 12 teams qualified for the third round and were placed in 3 groups of 4 teams. Mexico were placed in Group B along with Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guyana. They triumphantly reached the fourth round completing easy victories in all their matches and gave away only two goals.
6 teams made it to the fourth qualifying round. These teams were the United States, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Jamaica and Mexico. All teams played against each other in a round robin fashion in both home and away clashes. The El Tri started their campaign with a draw against Jamaicans at their home. In their second fixture away to Honduras, they were leading by a margin of two goals with fifteen minutes to play but somehow conceded 2 goals in a matter of three minutes to end the match in a draw. Their fixture against United States at home ended in a stalemate. Mexicans registered their first win of the fourth round in their away clash against Jamaicans with a solitary goal. Needing to win, Mexicans played two consecutive goalless draws, one away at Panama and the other at home to Costa Rica in their sixth match. With 8 points from 6 games, they needed to register wins to ensure direct qualification to the World Cup finals but they first wilted after taking the lead in the 6th minute to lose to Honduras at home 1-2, and then lost comprehensively to United States away by a margin of two goals to nil. They delivered the much needed win in the home game against Panama to keep alive their chances of qualifying for the Play off.
In their final game away at Costa Rica, Mexico needed a draw to qualify for the play off. They failed to do that and lost the game 2-1, and could have been knocked out of the race, had Panama clung on to their 2-1 lead against the United States. They failed to do so in dramatic fashion conceding two extra time goals to the Americans to open the way for Mexico to qualify for the Play off against New Zealand, which Mexico easily won 9-3 on aggregate.
Mexico's Number 1
Mexico have announced their 23 men squad that is going to take part in Brazil. The Mexican roster includes goalkeepers, Jose de Jesus Corona who plays for Mexican Primera Division Club Cruz Azul, Alfredo Talavera who plays for one of Mexico’s most successful clubs, Deportivo Toluca F.C. The squad also contains Guillermo Ochoa, the 28 years old Ligue 1 shot stopper from Ajaccio.
The squad contains three defenders from Mexican Club, Club America. The America defenders included in the squad are Centre Back, Francisco Javier Rodriguez, the left back Paul Aguilar and the right/left back Miguel Layun who is the first Mexican player to play for a Serie A team. Two more defenders from the Mexican first division clubs are also part of the 23 men squad. These are Rafel Marquez, the former Monaco and Barcelona Central Defender who currently plays for Club Leon and the left back Carlos Salcido, the former Fulham and PSV man who now plays in Liga MX for Tigres UANL. In addition to five players from Mexican clubs, the defense also boasts of players from top clubs in Germany, Spain and Portugal. The player from Portugal is Porto’s young emerging central defender Diego Antonio Reyes who also happens to be the youngest player of the squad at 21. The other players are the established left back Andres Guardado who has recently moved to German Club Bayer Leverkuson from Valencia and Espanyol’s linchpin Hector Moreno.
The midfield chosen to represent Mexico in this year’s Fifa World Cup in Brazil by el Tri’s coach Miguel Herrera is composed mostly of players playing in Mexico. Among the seven midfielders going to Brazil, only one plays outside Mexico and he is the 24 years old Central Midfielder Hector Miguel Herrera who plays for Porto. Apart from Hector Herrera, the midfield lineup includes Carlos Pena, Luis Montes and Jose Van Vazquez from Club Leon, Marco Fabian from Cruz Azul, Juan Carlos Medina from Club America and Isaac Brizuela from Deportivo Toluca F.C.. Isaac Brizuela is an attacking midfielder; Jose Van Vazquez plays a defending midfielder’s role and Juan Carlos Medina plays on the right of the midfield. The rest of the midfielders present in the squad play in a central midfielder’s position.
Miguel Herrera has included five forwards to be part of the El Tri’s squad in the World Cup. Oribe Peralta is the most senior member of the forward line at age 30. He currently plays his trade in the Mexican club Santos Laguna. Raul Jimenez and Alan Pulido are two young players who have been made part of the World Cup squad. Alan Pulido plays as striker for Tigres UANL while Jimenez is a striker for Club America. The star strikers for Mexico are Giovani dos Santos and Javier Hernandez. Giovani dos Santos is currently playing in Spanish La Liga for Villarreal, whereas Javier Hernandez who is popularly known as Chicharito plays for the English giants Manchester United.
The 23-man Mexico squad:
Goalkeepers:Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo Ochoa (AC Ajaccio), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca),
Defenders:Carlos Salcido (Tigres),Miguel Layun (Club America), Diego Reyes (FC Porto), Hector Moreno (Espanyol) Paul Aguilar (Club America), Francisco Rodriguez (Club America), Rafael Marquez (Leon)
Midfielders: Andres Guardado (Bayer Leverkusen), Juan Carlos Medina (Club America), Hector Herrera (FC Porto), Carlos Pena (Leon), Luis Montes (Leon), Isaac Brizuela (Toluca), Jose Juan Vazquez (Leon), Marco Fabian (Cruz Azul)
Attackers: Raul Jimenez (Club America), Oribe Peralta (Santos Laguna), , Giovani dos Santos (Villarreal), Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Alan Pulido (Tigres)
Expected starting XI
Guillermo Ochoa; Rafael Marquez, Francisco Rodriguez, Paul Aguilar, Hector Moreno, Miguel Layun; Raul Jimenez, Juan Medina, Giovani dos Santos; Javier Hernandez, Oribe Peralta,
Players to Watch Out for
The most gifted player in this Mexico squad has to be the Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez who at the age of just 25 is currently the joint third highest all time goal scorer for Mexico. Big things are expected from this young forward in Brazil. Overall he has had a quite season as both him and the club fail to fire on all cylinders. Hernandez netted only 9 goals in 35 appearances for the Red Devils in all competitions. He and Mexico would be hoping that the former Guadalajara striker can show his true colors when it all matters in the Fifa World Cup finals to help Mexico make it deep into the World Cup.
Rafael Marquez is one of the most experienced players and the captain of El Tri. His role is going to be crucial if the Mexicans are looking to reach past the group stage into the second round of the finals. He has all the experience in the world having played big games in big tournaments for his former club Barcelona. He also has the added responsibility to be the leader of the team on the pitch, where his experience is going to be the most required by a team which does not has ample experience in its midfield ranks. The other important player has to be Hector Moreno, the Espanyol central defender who was named the club player of the year in his debut season for the team. If he can form a formidable partnership with Marquez then Mexican defense would be hard to breach and would allow its young midfielders and strikers to attack the other team with a lot more confidence.
Mexico's stand out player
Who Will be Mexico's Best Player at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
How Will They Fare at the World Cup?
Placed in the group alongside the host Brazil, Mexico would be looking to seal the runners up spot in the group ahead of Croatia and Cameroon. They definitely have the skill to do that and their right blend of youth and experience is going to be a great strength for them. How deep into the finals they can qualify is largely going to rest on whether they can click as a team in Brazil under the guidance of Miguel Herrera.