Ranking the Mexico Players on Their World Cup Group Stage Performance
Mexico had a stellar performance in the group stage. Miguel Herrera decided to use the same starting XI in all three games and it paid off.
The last time El Tri won two matches in the first phase was in Korea-Japan 2002, when they defeated Croatia 1-0 and Ecuador 2-1.
That World Cup edition also marked the first time Mexico grabbed more than seven points in the group stage.
The effort of Herrera's side was notorious, especially against the host, as the squad bagged a valuable point.
A couple of victories, over Cameroon and Croatia, sealed the deal. Now El Tri must face Netherlands in the round of 16.
Marco Fabian: He came in as a sub in every game. Against Cameroon he seemed a bit shaky but in the following clashes he went back to keeping the ball and distributing it.
He helped the team settle down a bit, especially against Brazil, when the host was pushing hard to win the game.
Javier Hernandez: Chicharito ended a 12-month goal drought. He did it against Croatia, in El Tri's final game.
It couldn't come in better time both for him and for the squad. Hernandez is an unbalancing player who will come in handy against Netherlands.
He could also give Giovani dos Santos a run for the starting position.
Miguel Layun: He started every game but was very erratic. Different from what we had seen during the warm-ups, Layun became a serious threat through the left flank.
He didn't take advantage of his speed and fine touch. His defensive job was rather shaky.
10. Giovani Dos Santos (F)
Giovani dos Santos impressed in the opening game vs. Cameroon, after that we hardly saw him making a difference on the pitch.
The Villarreal footballer scored two goals against the Indomitable Lions, which were wrongfully disallowed, but he still fought hard to put the ball away.
We hadn't seen dos Santos so focused and committed in months but it only lasted 90 minutes.
Dos Santos couldn't keep up the good pace and didn't complete the following games.
He needs to reflect and perform like he did against Cameroon or he could easily lose his starting position to Javier Hernandez.
9. Oribe Peralta (F)
Oribe Peralta opened the score against Cameroon but failed to score in the last couple of games.
Different from Giovani dos Santos, El Hermoso was never static. He moved all over the pitch, ran and tried to create goal opportunities.
According to FIFA.com, Peralta covered a total of 22,553 meters in three games, that's an average of 7,517 meters per match. He also made a total of 92 sprints.
Against Croatia he even went back to his own box to help the team and blocked a dangerous ball in from a corner kick.
He made one assist and recovered three balls.
8. Paul Aguilar (RB)
Paul Aguilar has been the undisputed starter in the right flank. He was a bit shaky in the first half vs. Croatia but in the last 45 minutes he proved why he is Miguel Herrera's first choice.
Aguilar was the fastest player on the pitch against Cameroon, with a top speed of 31.07 km/h, as per FIFA.com.
He created two goal opportunities, in the second and third games; he had a 74 percent of pass completion, 14 clearances and four interceptions, according to Squawka.com.
There's room for improvement, of course. He needs to be faster in tacking back when it comes to defending counter-attacks, especially now that Mexico are set to face the Oranje.
7. Francisco Rodriguez (CB)
Francisco Rodriguez silenced his critics, period.
The Cruz Azul centre-back proved that experience becomes a key factor in a World Cup. He played like in his golden age, with strong and smart defending.
El Maza became a fantastic support on the right edge of the box, mainly because Paul Aguilar ran all the way to the goal line, leaving Rodriguez with a huge responsibility.
His passing accuracy was superb, with an 84 percent effectiveness in that department. He didn't have defensive errors and cleared a key ball against Brazil, as per Squawka.com.
He was brilliant in set pieces, especially in the last match.
6. Andres Guardado (LM)
Andres Guardado had not played much with Bayer Leverkusen when he made Miguel Herrera's 23-man list. And despite what this could have meant, he didn't disappoint.
El Principito was one of the most inspired footballers on the pitch. FIFA.com reported that he made a total of 14 solo runs into the attacking area, had six shots and scored one goal.
Against Brazil he was the player who covered the most distance, with a total of 10,910 meters, 4,292 of those not in his position, according to FIFA.com.
Guardado became a key player in the midfield. He created spaces and supported Miguel Layun on the left sideline.
5. Jose Juan Vazquez (CM)
Jose Juan Vazquez took over the midfield masterfully, despite the doubts that surrounded him.
He had only appeared in four games with El Tri before his World Cup debut. He lined up vs. South Korea, Nigeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Portugal and they were enough to convince Miguel Herrera that he deserved the starting position.
El Gallito had a 91 percent pass accuracy; he recovered nine balls and created two goal opportunities in the last third of the pitch, according to miseleccion.mx (in Spanish).
FIFA.com stated that Vazquez covered a total distance of 31,001 meters. He made 85 sprints and his top speed was 28.15 km /h.
4. Hector Moreno (CB)
Hector Moreno's performance was by far his best since he made his debut with the senior team in 2007.
The Espanyol centre-back led the defense when Rafael Marquez was helping Jose Juan Vazquez in the center of the pitch.
Moreno also managed to command some counter-attacks and gave the team calm after some serious threats from the rivals, especially Brazil.
He recovered 22 balls in total; seven against Cameroon, eight vs. Brazil and seven more in front of Croatia. His average pass accuracy was 94 percent, as reported by miseleccion.mx (in Spanish).
Squawka.com registered eight defensive actions; 73.9 percent were clearances, 13 percent were interceptions and 13 percent were blocks. Also, his average passing length was 20 meters.
3. Hector Herrera (LM)
Hector Herrera was an instrumental player when Mexico U23 won the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Then he made his debut with the senior squad and he didn't impressed as much. Ultimately, Herrera missed several call-ups for the 2013 Hexagonal.
Miguel Herrera (not related) gave him another shot and the Porto midfielder didn't waste it.
He has become a beast on the pitch. According to miseleccion.mx (in Spanish), Herrera shot five times—he smashed two of them into the post—and recovered 15 balls.
FIFA.com states that Herrera ran more than any other Mexican, with a total of 32,226 meters. He also made 21 solo runs into the attacking third.
Herrera was fantastic when he played beside Jose Juan Vazquez, as he helped him to create space and supported him in possession and distribution.
2. Guillermo Ochoa (GK)
Guillermo Ochoa proved from the very first match why he earned Miguel Herrera's trust.
Although Mexico won their opening game somewhat easily, Ochoa was tested in the final minutes but he was focused and denied Cameroon the equalizer.
His second match is one for the books, for sure. The free-agent goalkeeper denied clear goal opportunities from Neymar, Oscar and Fred, to name a few.
He made saves in set pieces, from long-distance shots and at close range. Ochoa was simply superb and proved why he has been the only Mexican goalkeeper who has played in a first class European League.
He conceded one goal in the group stage and made eight saves for a total rate of 88.9 percent, as per FIFA.com.
1. Rafael Marquez (CM)
This is why Rafael Marquez is wearing the captain's armband for the fourth successive World Cup.
More than just a centre-back, Marquez has become the leader of the team. The one player who never puts his arms down and thinks out of the box.
He can play in different positions, including libero and defensive midfielder, but he is a fantastic addition to the attacking zone in set pieces.
Marquez recovered 22 balls, completed 78 percent of his passes and covered 18,870 meters, as reported by FIFA.com.
Also, he opened the floodgate against Croatia by scoring from a set piece, proving his courage and hunger, which ultimately led coach Herrera to use him in a more offensive role during the second half of the match.
This is by far the best version we have seen of Rafa with Mexico.
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