Mexico will play their final World Cup warm-up friendly on home soil on Wednesday, when the team host Israel at the Estadio Azteca.
Israel missed out on qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, failing to progress from a difficult group containing Portugal and Russia. The team held the explosive Portuguese side to two draws in that group, indicating Mexico shouldn't take their opponents lightly.
With plenty of European leagues just wrapping up, the chance to schedule a match against a team bound for the World Cup this early was difficult. Of all the available teams, Israel probably made for the most interesting matchup. Balanced and hard-working, they will give El Tri a strong challenge as they prepare for their trip to Brazil.
Date: Wednesday, May 28.
Time: 2.30 a.m. BST/9:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Azteca, Mexico City
TV info and live stream: The match will be broadcast on ESPN2 and Unimas, with mobile coverage available through ESPN Wireless.
Legendary forward Cuauhtemoc Blanco will be honoured with a start against Israel on Wednesday; a beautiful gesture for a player who gave his heart and soul to Mexican football.
That's as far as Miguel Herrera will go when it comes to festivities, however, as this Mexican team still has a lot of work to do in preparation for the upcoming World Cup. The qualifying process didn't go as smoothly as fans would have liked, and in a group containing Brazil, Croatia and Cameroon, progress to the knockout stages is no guarantee.
Consecutive friendlies against Nigeria and the United States should give the manager a glimmer of hope that he'll be able to finalise his team in time for the big stage of the World Cup and their first match against Cameroon. But a less-than-stellar performance against Israel would spell disaster.
Via The Jerusalem Post's Raphael Gellar, the Israeli squad will be honouring one of their own as well when they take on Mexico, as Yossi Benayoun will become the country's most-capped player:
Eli Guttman confirms Yossi Benayoun will play vs. Mexico and break record for all-time appearances— Raphael Gellar (@raphaelg23) May 22, 2014
Israel defeated Honduras in New York 2-0 last season, and Los Catrachos finished ahead of Mexico in CONCACAF quite comfortably, so El Tri will be warned.
Javier Hernandez will be keen to impress, following Herrera's message he wants the forward to leave Manchester United, as reported by Sky Sports' Paul Freitas. The player is a part of Mexico's squad headed for Brazil, but his manager made it clear he will need regular minutes if he wishes to play for El Tri:
"In the case of 'Chicharito,' I believe it'd be in his interest to leave so he is taken into consideration to play."
The good news for Hernandez is that Israel's defence can be leaky at times, conceding 14 times in 10 matches during qualifiers, per UEFA.com.
A strong showing on Wednesday would guarantee Chicarito the starting position at one of the two striker spots against Cameroon, but if the United man struggles, it could give manager Herrera even further headaches.