World Cup Team Preview: Mexico’s Outlook is Unclear
Days before the World Cup preliminary rosters had to be released, Azteca Deportes leaked the final roster that coach Miguel Herrera is expected to make official on Friday. Despite the release and stability for the players named, the outlook for the Mexico National Football Team remains in doubt. They had a rough qualifying campaign in CONCACAF and had to get through by a playoff win. The group they are in may give them some hope, but Mexico has to build on current form and move away from last year’s constant transition to have success in the World Cup.
Mexico scored two goals to come back from a 2-0 deficit to the USMNT at the beginning of April and continue a streak of positive results since late October 2013. However, Herrera is the fourth coach for Mexico since they started their qualifying campaign. Mexico struggled to finish in the final third and had uncommon struggles at home in their national stadium.
They were drawn into a group with Cameroon, Croatia and Brazil and are expected to fight for second place with Croatia. The match against Brazil will be a good measuring stick for Herrera and his team. The coach has high hopes saying his team will make the final.
There are plenty of options for Herrera in attack. Javier Hernandez should be the lead attacker, but he did not get much playing time with Manchester United this season. Alan Pulido‘s international form is at an unprecedented high. Giovanni Dos Santos, who was a question mark at one time, and Oribe Peralta are the other top options.
The midfield has some question marks. Javier Aquino will not be heading to Brazil. Carlos Pena may be the key to the entire Mexican team. He has been an offensive force but may be asked to sit further back on the field.
Marco Fabian has scored four goals in just 11 appearances for Mexico. As one can tell with these offensive numbers, it is the defensive midfielders who could be a big question in Brazil.
Captain Rafa Marquez is in the side. Paul Aguilar and Carlos Salcido also figure to see many minutes at the World Cup. The defense is backed with experience as very few on the squad have less than 50 appearances with the team.
The goalkeeper will be Guillermo Ochoa as expected.
Mexico may have the confidence, but their approach has to find some stability. The match against Brazil will be more of a wake-up call than a measuring stick, and they will be fighting with Croatia for the second spot. The Cameroon match will be tricky as they can match Mexico’s speed. In the end it could come down to a tiebreaker with Croatia and Mexico will fail to advance from the group stage.
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