In our “Team Talk” series, we continue with Group F of the FIFA World Cup 2018. Today, we will be throwing some lights on Mexico, another heavyweight from the Americas.
Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio
Captain: Andrés Guardado
Nickname(s): El Tri
Last Qualified in: 2014
Result in 2014: Eliminated in the round of 16.
Qualified as: CONCACAF winners of the group in the fifth round. (1st September, 2017)
Previous World Cup Appearances: (15 Times) 1930, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1974, 1978, 1986, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014.
Best World Cup Finals Result: Quarter Finalists in 1970 and 1986.
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa, Alfredo Talavera, Jesus Corona.
Defenders: Carlos Salcedo, Diego Reyes, Hector Moreno, Hugo Ayala, Edson Alvarez, Jesus Gallardo, Miguel Layun.
Midfielders: Rafael Marquez, Hector Herrera, Jonathan Dos Santos, Giovani Dos Santos, Andres Guardado, Marco Fabian.
Forwards: Javier Hernandez, Raul Jimenez, Oribe Peralta, Jesus Manuel Corona, Carlos Vela, Javier Aquino, Hirving Lozano.
1. Guillermo Ochoa: The 32-year-old veteran Standard Liège goalkeeper had already been a superstar in his last world cup with some phenomenal performances. In this year also, he has played a crucial role for his side to finish second in the league table. His team Standard Liège have finished just behind Club Brugge with conceding only nine goals.
2. Andres Guardado: The 32-year-old from the Spanish side Real Betis does maintain a crucial role in the midfield. The veteran player is as effective in creating chances as in snatching the ball in his area. So, the veteran can have an effective impact for his team.
3. Giovani Dos Santos: The 29-year-old experienced veteran is also another threat to the opposing defenses. The LA Galaxy player reportedly had his early career in some heavyweights including FC Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur, Villareal. In addition, the player has bagged 25 goals in his 69 appearances for his current side.
4. Javier Hernandez (Chicharito): The ex-Manchester United and currently West Ham United forward is the most dangerous player in this squad. The 30-year-old player has always been very clinical in front of the goal. With a successful 5-years career at Manchester United, the player has been able to show his class in other two heavyweight clubs including Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen.
Mexico have been going through some better than average results for their last few games. Reportedly, they have lost only four games in their last twenty-five international matches.
Mexico are in Group F along with Germany, Sweden, and South Korea. They will flag off their campaign against the defending champions in their opening match on 17th of June 2018 followed by South Korea and Sweden on 23rd and 27th June respectively.
As Mexico is sharing their group with the hot favorites Germany, the challenge will be a bit difficult for them. They have a few key players between 29 to 32 years, who might play their last world cup. So, they will be highly determined to leave their marks before they retire. Practically, Germany and Mexico are the favorites to move to the next round irrespective of any upsets. So, a place in the round of 16 can be expected from them.
The first goal in the World Cup history was scored against the Mexicans, by French player Lucien Laurent in 1930. Apart from that, Mexican legend Antonio Carbajal has featured in the World Cup five times, the highest in World Cup history. He has this record along with German player Lothar Matthäus, but Carbajal did it first, featuring in 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962 and 1966.
Do you think Mexico can be a dark horse in this year’s World Cup? Share your thoughts below!
Photo by Francisco Carbajal