How Mexico Will Line Up Against New Zealand
Miguel Herrera is ready to take Mexico all the way to the World Cup, but to achieve it, he will need to put his best men on the pitch.
With 10 players from Club America—which Herrera has managed since 2011—El Tri have to do their best to hold New Zealand off in the first leg of the play-off, which will take place at the Estadio Azteca.
His line-up will not be different from the one he used in a friendly against Finland in October.
Moises Munoz has been Club America's keeper since 2011, but he has a superb resume.
He made his professional debut with Monarcas Morelia when he was just 20 years old. He left the club after 11 years, with 282 appearances.
Muñoz joined Atlante, then under the command of Miguel Herrera. It was in that time that El Piojo took him under his wing and eventually moved him to America.
He is an unorthodox player, as he knows how to come out of his goal with the ball at his feet. He has good reflexes and leadership to organize the defenders.
In the back line, we’ll have five defenders.
From the right Paul Aguilar will try his best to help in the attacking zone, which is one of his strengths. Aguilar is strong and fast, and can come back in time to avoid a counter-attack.
Three footballers will guard the center of the box.
Juan Carlos Valenzuela has only been capped 12 times with El Tri, and although being an undisputed starter with his club, he has a long way to go, especially when it comes to mindset. His main challenge will be staying focused.
With four years experience of playing in the Bundesliga, Francisco Rodriguez is one of the most experienced Mexican centre-backs and he will be a cornerstone of Mexico's backbone.
Right in front of Munoz we’ll see Rafael Marquez, who despite being 34 years old, has a fine touch and a fierceness that many envy.
Finally, Miguel Layun will be in charge of the left flank. He is fast, which often sets him as a game changer; however, he struggles when he has to go back to his position as left-back.
Juan Carlos Medina will take the center of the pitch. His function will be distributing balls to the attacking zone and helping the centre-backs when they need it.
Medina has played in the Liga MX since his debut with Atlas in 2003. However, it wasn't until 2011, when Herrera confided in him, that he had his breakthrough.
He is physically fit as well as intelligent.
Carlos Pena will continue to be a very valuable asset from the right. He is one of the few midfielders who dares to attack and create plays.
The Leon footballer is unbalancing and can put the ball away from close range or with a long-distance shot.
Meanwhile, his teammate Luis Montes will be on the left.
Montes received his first cap in 2013, when he competed in the Gold Cup. What he lacks in height (5'5"), he makes up with speed and fine touch.
He can feed the ball to the forwards or finish a play himself.
Raul Jimenez will start again and he’ll do it from the left.
A gold-medal winner in the Summer Olympics, Jimenez is a tireless forward. He plays better when he comes from behind, taking advantage of his speed, hence surprising the defenders.
Jimenez is a natural with headers, but he can also send the ball to the back of the net with his right foot.
He will team up with Oribe Peralta, who is the best Mexican scorer in the Liga MX, with nine goals in 11 appearances.
Peralta doesn't take anything for granted and fights for every ball he can, which gives him more goal opportunities than expected.
He has scored in five of his last six games with El Tri.