10 Surprise Contenders to Land a Spot in Mexico World Cup Squad

Karla Villegas Gama@karlitsvFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2014

10 Surprise Contenders to Land a Spot in Mexico World Cup Squad

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    Miguel Herrera is yet to decide which players will represent Mexico at the World Cup, but making up his mind will not be easy.

    The Liga MX has a wide variety of footballers who are working very hard to impress the El Tri coach and grab a place in the 23-man final list.

    Some of them have already worn the green jersey; others are longing to defend it this summer.

    Here are 10 guys who can surprise and make the team.


    Spanish sources cited in this article translated by the author unless otherwise noted.

Rogelio Chavez

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    Rogelio Chavez returned to Cruz Azul after spending the 2011 Apertura with Pachuca and the 2012 Clausura with Atlas.

    He has an enviable ball touch, which sets him up as a game-changer in free kicks. Plus, Chavez can run until the goal line and put a cross in the box.

    The right-back can be a fantastic option for Herrera now that Club America’s Paul Aguilar has not been at his best. 

    Actually, the Mexico coach has already told Juan Martin Montes of Medio Tiempo that Chavez is on his radar:

    Rogelio Chavez has had a pretty good tournament, with no ups and downs, quite well, we have him on target, is a guy who is catching our eye.

Jesus Manuel Corona

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    El Tecatito made quite an impression at the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup, which ultimately secured him a spot at Dutch club Twente, where he has appeared seven times and has scored once. 

    Two of his most valuable assets are speed and dribbling, which he puts into use through the flanks, generating constant goal opportunities.

    Jesus Manuel Corona may be a great passer, but unlike other wingers, he can put the ball away with ease.

Ulises Davila

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    Ulises Davila showed his skills to the world at the 2011 CONCACAF championship; he was El Tris top scorer with four goals to his name.

    Chelsea bought him in 2011, but he has been on loan ever since. Currently, he wears Cordoba’s jersey (Spanish Second Division) and has proven to be a good choice as an attacking midfielder or as a second striker.

    Davila takes advantage of his ball control to open spaces and create plays from the center of the pitch or the flanks.

Jesus Escoboza

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    Jesus Escoboza has already played and scored with El Tri despite being a 21-year-old.

    The Santos winger is in superb shape and playing regularly in the Liga MX.

    Few players have as many resources as this kid who can run, pass and finish with the same calm.

    It was precisely Miguel Herrera who gave him his first shot with the senior team, and he has not disappointed.

    If he makes it to Brazil, he will fight for a place with Carlos Pena and probably Andres Guardado.

Jonathan Espericueta

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    Jonathan Espericueta had his big break at the 2011 U-17 World Cup, where he was awarded the Silver Ball for his stellar performance, which included two goals.

    He left Mexican club Tigres for a contract with Villarreal B last month, where his fellow countrymen Giovani dos Santos and Javier Aquino play, in hopes of receiving a chance with the first team.

    At age 19, he is a very talented midfielder who can help the defense when in distress or join the attack with his well-educated left foot.

Marco Fabian

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    Marco Fabian wants to represent Mexico again, but Herrera believes he is not ready yet, per Medio Tiempos Juan Martin Montes:

    He has not reached the level he showed everyone before. I still do not see Marco in that situation and I have been following him since he was in Guadalajara.

    It is true that he is playing better; however, he is not the player he was in 2012 when he represented Mexico U-23 in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament, Toulon Tournament and Summer Olympics.

    If he goes back to his old self, Fabian can be a very valuable asset because of his speed, creativity and strength, which turn into depth for the team.

    Moreover, his long-distance shot is key in set pieces.

Carlos Fierro

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    El Guero is also working hard, and Herrera has already noticed it, per Raymundo Gonzalez of Medio Tiempo:

    All the Mexican players have a shot to make it to the team. Fierros work caught my attention.

    Playing for Guadalajara since 2011, he has had to fight for a place on the team because the management has brought on some of the most successful strikers in the Liga MX.

    Carlos Fierro knew it would be a tough race, so he adjusted to a new position and now plays as a winger.

    That change proved how much commitment he has; plus, this position suited him perfectly. He has great dribbling skills and is very fast. He works in tight spaces like few can.

Miguel Ponce

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    Miguel Ponce was a key player of the U-23 Mexico squad that swept every trophy in 2012.

    Ponce scored five goals that year, and in the summer of 2013, he played in the Gold Cup, which was his first cap for the senior team.

    However, with Guadalajara—the club where he debuted in 2010—he was not playing at his best, and in eight tournaments, he only scored eight times.

    Finally, he left on a loan for Toluca in 2014, where he has gone back to his usual level, playing every matchday of the Clausura tournament and putting the ball away once.

    Ponce is a strong left-back who can fit in Herrera’s 5-3-2 system as a flying full-back. He could work as Miguel Layuns substitute.

Luis Mendoza

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    El Quick is an explosive right-winger who can change the score in the blink of an eye.

    He is a superb passer who combines his accuracy with speed, becoming a very unbalancing footballer who creates spaces easily.

    Luis Mendoza has been part of Club America since 2013, so Herrera capped him for the two-legged playoff against New Zealand, but he did not play.

    He has the manager’s trust; now he only needs to keep up the good work with Las Aguilas to fight for a spot on the team.

Hiram Mier

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    Hiram Mier is one of the most talented Mexican defenders. He is young, passionate and very technical.

    He has a good chance to make the team because, as discussed previously, Paul Aguilar is not doing great and Mier knows how to play as a right-back—he did so at the 2013 Confederations Cup.

    He has another shot, though. Herrera’s 5-3-2 system opens an extra slot for a centre-back, which Mier needs to fight for. Rafael Marquez and Hector Moreno will probably occupy the other two.