5 Mexico Players Whose Stock Increased at 2014 World Cup
Mexico finished 10th in the 2014 World Cup, its best performance outside home turf. Although Miguel Herrera's side was overall strong, there were five players who really shined.
Their top performance helped them increase their stock after the tournament. Some of them were complete strangers for the world; others had been around for a while now.
These footballers certainly proved that through hard work, commitment and leadership, the results of a team can be better than expected.
Rafael Marquez may be 35 years old, but he certainly proved that he still is one of the most valuable Mexican footballers.
Marquez not only made his fourth appearance in a World Cup as captain, but he also helped Miguel Herrera on the pitch by providing the squad with structure and calm throughout the tournament.
The Leon midfielder will probably end his career in Mexico, but he could very well make another team if he wanted to.
Despite his age, Marquez is in good shape, he has an enviable touch and his aerial game is lethal when he joins the attacking zone, as he did versus Croatia.
Guillermo Ochoa couldn't have had better timing. The goalkeeper left Ajaccio after three seasons and is looking for a new club.
Ochoa secured the starting position just days before the opening match against Cameroon, and he didn't disappoint.
His top performances came in front of Brazil, where he made six saves that put on display his quick reflexes and dives, and the Netherlands, which included two key saves in the second half.
Ochoa will surely have a lot of options to pick from, but one thing is sure, he will stay in Europe.
Andres Guardado had the credentials to make the team, but he hadn't been at his best with Valencia and Bayer Leverkusen.
However, El Principito managed to turn around the situation and fought very hard through the warm-ups. His performances were so fine that Miguel Herrera decided to put him in the starting XI.
Guardado's experience mixed with his newly acquired form allowed him to compete head-to-head and make a clear difference for El Tri.
Don't be surprise if he returns to Valencia under new coach Nuno Espirito Santo.
Jose Juan Vazquez
Miguel Herrera called up Jose Juan Vazquez thinking of him as a sub for undisputed starter Juan Carlos Medina. However, El Negrito suffered an injury, which sidelined him from the World Cup.
All of a sudden, Vazquez was El Piojo's first option for a rather important position in his 5-3-2 system despite having played only one game with Mexico.
El Gallito had already shown his skills at the Copa Libertadores and the Liga MX tournament with Leon, where he has been playing since 2011.
When he debuted versus Cameroon, he had been capped four times, but that wasn't a factor for him.
Vazquez amazed the world with his fantastic sense of orientation, accurate passing and endurance.
Hector Herrera made his senior debut with El Tri in 2012. However, he didn't have much success under Jose Manuel de la Torre's command.
Miguel Herrera (not related) gave him another chance, and he took advantage of it. The Porto midfielder went back to his old self and showed why he had been chosen Best Player of the 2012 Toulon Tournament.
Herrera played through the right flank, from where he created and finished plays easily, but he also helped Jose Juan Vazquez when he was in distress.
His speed and dribbling skills helped him unbalance the rival's defense on a regular basis.
All stats appear courtesy of Squawka.com unless otherwise noted.