To say Mexico was inconsistent during the 2014 World Cup qualifying, well, that would be giving them a little too much credit. The side seems to be forever conflicted of who to play as the manager tries to juggle both domestic players and those who play abroad.
In the midst of the chaos and seemingly endless manager overturn, the team went just 2-3-5 in CONCACAF Qualifying and backed into an intercontinental playoff by default. The team then made easy work of lusterless New Zealand squad to earn them a place in the final 32.
Mexico has found some luck at the World Cup, getting out of the group stage at five consecutive tournaments since 1994, but have failed to ever get past the quarterfinals at the World Cup Finals.
After a poor showing in both the 2013 Conferdeartions Cup and in qualifying, the Mexicans have rebounded nicely in recent friendlies by showing they actually have a pulse.
Manager Miguel Herrera has infused youth to what was an aging side and has also found a good balance of domestic and abroad talent in a side that is headed in the right direction.
Oribe Peralta and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez headline a Mexican attack that is gaining steam in the buildup to the World Cup. Peralta will prove to be one of the surprise players of the tournament as the newly signed Club America man looks to spark Mexico to an improbable run. Peralta is one of the most in-form players in the world at the moment and could be a true contender for the golden boot award at the tournament if Mexico progesses far enough.
Chicharito is one of the more recognizable players for the Mexican side, but will he embrace his role as the super-sub for the team or get lost in his own world as he seems to do a lot with his club side Manchester United. In addition to multiple attacking threats, lurks a defense full of experience anchored by Rafa Marquez who is making his fourth World Cup appearance.
Mexico’s draw is not the easiest, but is managable if the Meixcans are on their game. The team should find a way to win their opener against Cameroon if El Tri’s defense can contain a strong attack. Mexico then faces its toughest test of the group stage when they meet Brazil in a game where the tension could boil over in another physical game of this rivalry. Mexico and Croatia will meet each other in the final game of Group A, and this game will likely decide who comes out of this group alongside Brazil.
At this point, El Tri has rubbed its lucky rabbit’s foot raw and only the team’s true footballing ability will save them now.
Will Meixco finally prove that they belong amongst the game’s elite at the World Cup or flame out in the early stages?
Even though everything seemed to go wrong through qualifying for El Tri, every team’s slate is wiped clean entering the tournament and Mexico have the potential to make some noise in this tournament. Mexico is a long shot to win the group, but should go through the group stage as they have a higher ceiling than Croatia. With Mexico facing another tough opponent in the next round, El Tri will fall yet again in the Round of 16.
Greg Douglas is a soccer writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.