5 Mexico Players with a Point to Prove vs. Cameroon
No more training, no more pep talks, this is it. Mexico are set to debut against Cameroon at Arena das Dunas on June 13 and five players from the 23-man squad have some things to prove on the pitch.
There's no doubt that all of them are talented and no wonder why some of them play among the best European teams, while others are stalwarts in the Liga MX.
Their performance in the opening match will be key if they want to continue being considered by the coach for the upcoming games.
Let's take a look at these footballers.
All advanced stats courtesy of espnfc.com, unless otherwise noted.
Francisco Rodriguez needs to prove why he was capped, as simple as that.
El Maza is one of Miguel Herrera's most trusted men. Obviously that fact earned him a spot on the team, but now he needs to show that his presence on the pitch is not a stroke of luck.
Rodriguez has a lot of experience. He played in Europe from 2008 to 2012 and has already appeared in two World Cups (2006 and 2010), and he needs to rely on that.
Physically, El Maza has a key advantage over Diego Reyes, his strength. Cruz Azul's new signing is bigger and has more muscle, which will definitely be a factor throughout the tournament.
Giovani Dos Santos
Consistency is the key word for Giovani dos Santos. The Villarreal footballer has always provided Mexico with unbalancing moves and fantastic technique.
However, dos Santos needs to have the same efficiency from the moment he gets onto the pitch until he leaves it.
There is no question about his talent: Just imagine what he could be able to generate if his endurance was better. Instead of having 15 minute of world-class play, he would provide at least 45 minutes of brilliance.
One of the most worrying things ahead of the World Cup is Oribe Peralta's underperformance.
In 2014 he has played in five games for a total of 450 minutes and scored once, in the friendly versus South Korea.
Last year, El Hermoso bagged 11 goals in 13 appearances. Just in his last five games he put the ball away eight times, including five in the two-legged playoff against New Zealand.
It may just be a phase, similar to what happened in 2012 before the Summer Olympics. If so, Peralta needs to prove it soon in order to continue leading Mexico’s attack and give everyone peace of mind.
This will be a very important tournament for Javier Hernandez because he needs to prove he's still a changing factor.
To answer it, Chicharito needs to perform well, which means he must score again. The thing is, he hasn't scored for El Tri since June 2013 at the Confederations Cup, and his last Premier League goal was in April 2014 against Newcastle.
It's probable that Hernandez will start the game on the bench, like he did in South Africa 2010, so he will have little time to achieve the feat. But we all know he is a fox in the box.
Jose Juan Vazquez
Is he ready to tackle the challenge? Jose Juan Vazquez has had a fantastic year with Leon but he has never represented Mexico in an international tournament.
El Gallito has played for Leon since the club was in the promotion league. His ball possession and ball recovery set him as an undisputed starter.
La Fiera coach Gustavo Matosas has polished Vazquez's skills, turning him into one of the most successful defensive midfielders in the Liga MX.
According to Mexican football website Mediotiempo.com (Spanish only), in his last four seasons with the club El Gallito has only missed five games, for a total of 6,519 minutes on the pitch.
Miguel Herrera couldn't try him in a warm-up until El Tri faced Bosnia on June 3, but that match and the Portugal friendly, held three days later, were enough to secure him a spot in the starting XI.
Pressure, fitness and being a rookie could be enough to tarnish Vazquez’s debut.