Cameroon, Brazil and Croatia will bring out the best of El Tri at the 2014 World Cup, but so far Mexico only have one friendly scheduled. They challenge South Korea on Wednesday, January 29.
Although Miguel Herrera and his staff had reached out to Italy and Spain, the answer was not encouraging.
Herrera told Mexican football website MedioTiempo:
We tried to play with Spain and Italy, both said no; they did not want to play against Mexico.
England also looked the other way. Roy Hodgson’s boys will travel to the United States for their warm-up matches, one of them against Honduras.
According to Fox Sports, England preferred to face Los Catrachos rather than Mexico.
Now, Herrera is hoping to land a deal with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.
The El Tri coach also told MedioTiempo that Ecuador and Bosnia are on his radar, while a game against Nigeria is almost a done deal and it would be held next March, the only FIFA date before the World Cup.
The FIFA ranking puts the Super Eagles in 37th, El Tri in 23rd and the Dragons in 19th.
Herrera is certainly trying to get good competitors. But as much as he wants to have a strong team he still faces a challenge—some players will not appear in the friendly games.
One FIFA date means that those overseas will not be available. The clubs are not obliged to release the footballers, so Herrera will have to manage with the ones playing in the local league.
If Mexico make it to the round of 16 the competition will be even tougher, as they could face Spain, the Netherlands or Chile. Herrera needs to think past the group stage and secure as many games as possible.
Herrera will travel to Europe next month to speak with Javier Hernandez, Carlos Vela, Giovani dos Santos and others to let them know that there are vacant spots on the team but only for those that are really committed to it.
In the meantime, Herrera has been watching the Liga MX games. This weekend he was spotted in Guadalajara for the Chivas vs. Chiapas game.
He plans to release the final 23-player list in early May to have at least one month to get ready for the big party.
El Piojo has to build a balanced team. This means calling those who are actually playing and not just sitting on the bench, no matter what club they are a part of.
Spanish sources cited in this article translated by the author unless otherwise noted.