Mexico struggled throughout the qualifying process, but they enter the 2014 World Cup with plenty of confidence to make some noise at the international tournament.
El Tri have reached the knockout stage in the past five World Cups and are looking to at least replicate this feat once again in 2014. Although it will not be easy in a group with Brazil, Croatia and Cameroon, it is not impossible either.
Mexican manager Miguel Herrera believes the team can win the whole tournament, according to ESPN FC's Tom Marshall:
Mexico manager Miguel Herrera: We can win the World Cup.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) June 12, 2014
Miguel Herrera: We have a team that can be world champions, but we need to believe it.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) June 12, 2014
On the other hand, Fox Soccer considers Mexico to be one of the most overrated teams in the field due to the lack of development:
Funny thing about Mexico: they have been spectacularly successful at the youth level in recent years, winning trophies at the under-17 and under-20 World Cups and the Olympics, which is under-23. Yet the integration of those players into the senior team has been so fraught as to be comical. Expect nothing from them at this World Cup.
Still, the current group has the talent to surprise people in Brazil. Herrera picked the team that he thinks will win matches in this tournament, via The Telegraph.
FIFA's World Cup Twitter feed confirmed the roster on Friday:
While there are certain to be adjustments throughout the group stage, here is a look at the starting lineup for the opening match against Cameroon with a breakdown at each position:
|Midfielder||Jose Juan Vazquez|
|Forward||Giovanni Dos Santos|
While most teams at the World Cup have a true No. 1 goalkeeper, Mexico had three players battling at the position right up until the last minute.
Jesus Corona came into the process as the favorite after having plenty of success against high-level competition, but so did Guillermo Ochoa. Additionally, Alfredo Talavera showed that he is capable of helping out with his ability in net.
In the end, Herrera decided that Ochoa would be the starter for the first match. Of course, you can imagine him having a short leash if things start to go south in the match against Cameroon.
Mexico's 5-3-2 system ensures that the defense will remain strong against any opponent and limit opportunities around the net.
Against top attacks like Brazil and even Croatia, this will be extremely important.
Rafa Marquez will anchor this unit as the team's most veteran player. While he was injured in one of the friendlies heading into the World Cup, he is clearly healthy and ready to keep all opponents out of the middle of the zone.
He will be flanked by Moreno, a young player who has performed exceptionally well in Europe and has the steadiness to keep opponents from getting easy opportunities. Aguilar, Rodriguez and Layun will get the other three spots.
The full-backs will have more freedom to move up the sidelines in this formation, which will be perfect for creating opportunities for the forwards.
Andres Guardado will try to take over the role of Montes as one of the best playmakers left on the roster.
Hector Herrera was likely to get a spot in the lineup anyway thanks to his versatility. He can play an attacking midfield role or be deeper on the pitch in a holding position. Either way, he will help out Mexico in the next set of matches.
The final spots were a bit of a tougher decision, but Vazquez and Herrerra will get the first crack in the midfield. If they can perform well in this first contest, both are likely to remain at the spot for the rest of the tournament.
The squad had a bunch of options at this position, and it seems likely that all of them will get their chance to play at some point in this tournament.
Giovani dos Santos and Javier Hernandez had the most experience with the national team and arguably have the most raw talent on the roster. Hernandez also has plenty of confidence heading into Brazil. He thinks El Tri can go all the way, telling Nick Parker and Tom Sweetman of CNN:
Our mind is on the final, really. I think every national team has the same possibilities to win the World Cup. It's a very short competition and anything could happen, so our goal is to get into the final and to try to win it.
There's no point going to a competition and just thinking: 'We're just going to play three games.' That's not the point if you want to make history.
While these two players would have created a formidable duo up front on their own, Oribe Peralta and Raul Jimenez have shown quite a bit in their time with the national team as well with their clubs in Liga MX.
Dos Santos and Peralta will get the start in the first match, but you can be certain that all four will play at some point in the first few contests.
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