Predicting Who Will Be Mexico's Defensive Starters at the World Cup

Karla Villegas GamaFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2014

Predicting Who Will Be Mexico's Defensive Starters at the World Cup

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    John Cowpland

    Miguel Herrera may have doubts regarding who will take over Mexico's goal or midfield but the defenders who will start in next summer's World Cup are crystal clear.

    Three of them are currently playing in the local league and the other two are European-based defenders.

    Tough, technical and proud to be the chosen ones, here are the men who will take over Mexico's backbone.

Paul Aguilar (RB)

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Club America right-back has settled himself as one of Miguel Herrera's most trusted men. Ever since the current Mexico coach was in charge of America, Aguilar has had a big role on the pitch.

    Lately he has not been as sharp when it comes to defending mainly because the defensive midfielders that Herrera has tried in the friendly matches haven't been at their best, however, Aguilar usually does a good job.

    His physical strength allows him to join the attack on a regular basis, which Herrera's 5-3-2 system requires.

    Aguilar is fantastic when it comes to sending crosses into the box and sometimes he even takes his chances with long-distance shots.

Diego Reyes (CB)

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    Darren Abate

    Despite being one of the youngest players in the squad, Reyes has already won an Olympic gold medal and a Liga MX title.

    He left Mexico in 2012 to join Porto. He had a shaky start with the Dragons, which included being sidelined to the B-team by former manager Paulo Fonseca.

    Now with Luis Castro recently appointed as head coach, Reyes has had more playing time with the senior team, which will give him continuity, pace and strength.

    Herrera worked with Reyes when both were part of Club America, the boss knows that he can rely on the defender and that is the reason why he will be in the team.

    The doubts about Reyes' form are gradually disappearing, plus his confidence is returning little by little.

    One of his best assets is his height (6'4''), which allows him to have a sharp aerial game, which will come in handy in Brazil, especially against Croatia.

Rafael Marquez (CB)

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    Rick Scuteri

    He is the most experienced player in the squad, period. Marquez has won titles in France, Spain, the United States and Mexico.

    The Leon centre-back has fantastic touch, distribution and keeps possession well. In the attacking zone, Marquez is a real threat at set pieces due to his ability to score with the head.

    All of those assets set him apart as the leader of the team. However, there is something he needs to work on and that is his temper.

    Marquez has a long rap sheet when it comes to indiscipline.

    At the 2002 World Cup he gave Cobi Jones a head-butt and was dismissed from the match. At the 2005 Confederations Cup he made an unnecessary tackle that earned him a red card.

    History repeated itself during the 2009 Hexagonal, when he kicked Tim Howard.

    His most recent episode came during the 2014 Copa Libertadores, when Marquez was sent off after delivering a flying kick to a rival.

    About this matter, Mexican newspaper Record reports that Hector Gonzalez Inarritu, national team director, said in a press conference that El Tri would not issue a sanction to the defender.

Hector Moreno (CB)

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    Jay LaPrete

    Hector Moreno is one of the most consistent Mexicans playing abroad.

    He proved his skills during the 2005 U-17 World Cup, which Mexico won. He returned to UNAM to play for a couple more seasons and then left for AZ Alkmaar.

    In the Netherlands, Moreno won the Eredivisie title and the Dutch Super Cup. In 2011, after 96 appearances and seven goals, he joined Espanyol.

    Moreno's performance has not changed with the Spanish club, despite not being one of the best positioned in La Liga, they currently sit 10th in the table.

    He is a ferocious defender and perhaps the strongest in the Mexican backbone. He knows how to close spaces and secure the ball in stressful situations.

    Like Marquez, he has already played in a World Cup and knows how to handle himself under pressure.

Miguel Layun (LB)

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    A year ago Miguel Layun was not an option and he was almost forgotten about as a result of the little time he spent with Italian club Atalanta.

    However, he found a second chance with Miguel Herrera's Club America, where he polished his skills and became one of the standard bearers of the team that took away the 2013 Clausura title.

    Layun is a beast through the flanks. He can play from either side but with Herrera he has usually done it from the left.

    He is one of the few Mexican players who can join the attack as a flying full-back, giving the team a vertical option and flexibility, without compromising his main role as a defender.

    This will be a key tournament for him because he could return to Europe after.