Mexico (National Football)

Predicting Mexico's World Cup Squad Following Latest Internationals

Karla Villegas GamaFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2014

Predicting Mexico's World Cup Squad Following Latest Internationals

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    Dave Tulis/Associated Press

    Miguel Herrera has two-and-a-half months to decide the squad he will take to the World Cup, but the draft of the 23-man list is very advanced.

    Although Club America will provide more players than any other team, the arrival of the European-based footballers will leave some of them on the bench.

    It will also bring some shockers. Some of the footballers who reside overseas might not be at their best for the tournament and could either give away their starting position or not even make the trip.

    Let's take a look.

On the Edge

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Goalkeepers: Moises Munoz and Alfredo Talavera

    The third keeper will be one of these two, and Alfredo Talavera leads the race.

    Moises Munoz has been on the list since last year when Mexico faced New Zealand, but to be honest, he made the team because Herrera basically capped all the players from "Las Aguilas."

    He is not the trustworthiest guy, especially when he comes out with the ball on his feet.

    Talavera has an impressive aerial game, perhaps even better than Ochoa and Corona's, but he lacks the experience to come in as first choice.

     

    Defenders: Rogelio Chavez, Enrique Perez and Juan Carlos Valenzuela

    Rogelio Chavez has not been called yet, but he will be. He is fast and has an incredible long-distance shot. His performance with Cruz Azul has been smooth with no ups and downs.

    Enrique Perez has showed his great level with Atlas in the 2014 Clausura and may have a chance to make the team since Paul Aguilar has not been at his best.

    That leaves an open door for Herrera to try other players on the right flank, and Perez, like Chavez, is a very valuable asset when playing as a flying full-back.

    Juan Carlos Valenzuela has earned Herrera's trustand that is why he appears on this listbut he lacks the fitness and talent to wear the El Tri jersey.

     

    Midfielders: Jesus Zavala

    He came up as a sub against South Korea but couldn't show much, hence he was not even capped for the game versus Nigeria.

    However, with Juan Carlos Medina's recent performance, Jesus Zavala may get a second chance. If it is the case, he needs to bring his A-game, which includes possession and organization, because Herrera trusts Medina deeply.

     

    Forwards: Giovani dos Santos

    The Villarreal footballer has what it takes, but his recent injury puts him in doubt. He needs to make a speedy recovery or he will miss the World Cup, which will harm Mexico deeply.

    Giovani dos Santos is the kind of player El Tri need for creativity and depth purposes.

Goalkeepers

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Jesus Corona

    Jesus Corona is on the right track to take over Mexico’s goal. He is an experienced player and has defended El Tri in major competitions, like the Summer Olympics and the Confederations Cup.

    Although Guillermo Ochoa had a great performance against Nigeria, it was just what he needed to clear Herrera's doubts about who would be a better second keeper.

    Corona needs to work in his aerial game, though. His reflexes are sharp and he knows how to narrow the angle, but he has to step up, especially for the game against Croatia.

     

    Sub: Guillermo Ochoa

Defenders

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Miguel Layun

    With the arrival of Andres Guardado to the left flank, Miguel Layun will take over the right flank, like he did at the 2013 Gold Cup.

    Layun has showed how valuable he is when he joins the attack. His long-distance shot, fine touch and ball control puts him as an undisputed starter.

     

    Diego Reyes

    Although he didn't show much against South Korea and Nigeria, Diego Reyes will make the team because Herrera trusts him due to his performance when he played for Club America.

    Reyes needs more playing time with Porto B to go back in shape. If he gets it, expect him to be a fierce defender again.

     

    Rafael Marquez

    He is no longer a youngster, but his experience will be a factor at Brazil 2014. Rafael Marquez knows how to handle pressure and leads the back line like few players.

    He is also a threat in set pieces, as he can put the ball away with a powerful header, plus he can take his chances with long-distance shots. This will be his last World Cup.

     

    Hector Moreno

    Arguably the best European-based player on this team, Hector Moreno is a strong and dependable centre-back. He has played with Marquez before, so they will understand each other just fine.

    The Espanyol footballer can cover the rivals' forwards tightly and keep the ball while the team is restructured.

     

    Andres Guardado

    He was a bit rusty during the first half of the match against Nigeria, but in the last 45 minutes, he turned things around.

    Guardado is still in good shape, and his speed is almost intact. He cannot offer Carlos Pena's flexibility, but his experience will be enough to take over the left flank and create some serious goal opportunities from there.

     

    Subs: Paul Aguilar, Francisco Rodriguez, Juan Carlos Valenzuela and Miguel Ponce

Midfielders

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Hector Herrera

    He has kept a good level, although he has not appeared much with Porto. Hector Herrera played on the right sideline and as a central midfielder against the Super Eagles; he did not surprise but certainly achieved his goal to make the team. 

    He will contend for the starting position as right midfielder with Luis Montes; it seems that Herrera has already decided who will take over the center of the pitch.

     

    Juan Carlos Medina

    He has not been at his best, but Herrera thinks highly of him. Medina fulfilled the expectations against Finland, New Zealand and South Korea, but he fell short in front of Nigeria.

    He missed a lot of balls and suffered with the Super Eagles' speed, which he needs to amend as soon as possible because Mexico will face Cameroon and Brazil at the World Cup.

    His position is everything for this team, due to Herrera's 5-3-2 system. He becomes the commander and link between the back line and the attacking zone.

     

    Carlos Pena

    He has nothing more to prove. Pena is one of the most versatile midfielders in Mexican football, and he has brought to El Tri his superb performances with Leon.

    He can solve a play in the blink of an eye. A cross, a forward pass or even a shot at close range can be enough for him to change the score.

    Pena will make a great partnership with Guardado.

     

    Subs: Luis Montes and Isaac Brizuela

Forwards

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Oribe Peralta

    He is Mexico's most reliable man on the front, period. Oribe Peralta fights every ball and works in tight spaces like few strikers.

    He is the kind of player who can craft a play or finish it with the same ease. His dribbling skills allow him to work inside the box, while his vision and speed help him leave the defenders behind.

     

    Alan Pulido

    Alan Pulido was not going through his best moment with Tigres, but as soon as Herrera gave him a chance against South Korea, he turned things around and scored a hat-trick.

    He came in as a sub in front of the Super Eagles but created more danger than what Javier Hernandez did in the first half. He and Peralta have five more games to adjust and become a lethal duo.

    He is young but wants to make an impression on the team. His endurance and fierceness set him as the next big thing for Mexico's offense.

     

    Subs: Javier Hernandez and Raul Jimenez

     

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