Mexico is a team that seems to have caught fire as of late, cruising through the Gold Cup and taking home the title with a 4-2 win over the United States.
Led by young, up and coming talent Giovani Dos Santos, this squad looks as good as they have been in the last couple of years. They are putting up the wins and now enter the 2011 Copa America in Argentina as a guest team.
Despite their strong play as of late, they are a team that has its work cut out for them if they expect to be contenders in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Ranging from having eight players currently suspended from play for off the field incidents to the fact they have a weaker schedule prior to the World Cup than do other teams, there are a list of areas that hurt this team's chances to make a run in the next cup.
Here are the 10 reasons why this Mexico team won't contend in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Just one game into the 2011 Copa America, this Mexico squad has shown it might not be ready to contend for a World Cup title in 2014.
In their opening match of the Copa America, Mexico would fall to Chile 2-1, giving up two second-half goals after going up 1-0. Esteban Paredes and Arturo Vidal would score the two goals to steal the first win of the tournament.
There are still two games left in the group stage, yet with a much improved Uruguay team still left on the schedule, Mexico might find themselves going home earlier than expected.
To their credit they are playing with a lot of second unit players, as they come fresh off a title at the Gold Cup tournament over the United States. As a guest team in the cup, the team is only allowed to have a U-23 team in the cup, yet can have up to five players play with the team that are 23 and over.
This young team boasts its fair share of talent, but in the history of the World Cup tournament has not been able to make much of a run.
In their last four appearances in the cup, which are consecutive ones from 1994 to 2010, the team has failed to make it past the second round.
Despite the improved, intelligent play displayed at the Gold Cup, it is apparent that Mexico seems to lack what it takes to beat the highly regarded European squads, as well as some of the top-notch South American sides.
The Gold Cup features the likes of teams like the United States, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Canada.
To give these squads their fair share of respect, they are not teams to take lightly, yet they are teams that don’t match up to the level of play that will be on display at the cup.
The United States is the lone exception of those teams, as they are and seem to always make noise when it comes World Cup time. Honduras made a respectable run last season as a team that nearly made the World Cup, yet at the end of the day the competition Mexico has to face to get in the cup doesn’t prepare the team enough.
Against the teams from South America, Mexico has looked sluggish to say the least in their last handful of encounters.
In the last 11 games played against South American teams, starting with their first round loss to Uruguay in the 2010 World Cup, Mexico is just 2-5-4. Their two wins come against Paraguay and Colombia at home in two international friendly matches.
With an opening loss to Chile in the first round of the Copa America, it becomes more evident that Mexico has the talent to play with teams in South America and Europe, yet fail to perform when confronted with these teams.
In the 2010 World Cup, Mexico would make it out of the first round, as it was the fifth consecutive World Cup the Mexican side had made it out of the World Cup.
Yet their showing in group play was inconsistent and rocky, as they failed to capitalize on goal scoring opportunities and let up defensively against both Uruguay and Argentina. They beat an unstable side in France, settled for a draw with host nation South Africa, and were shutout 1-0 by Uruguay.
They would then finish second in the group, losing to Argentina 3-1 in the second round of the 2010 World Cup.
Although it is for the most part out of the team’s hands, Mexico has little experience playing against some of the better squads in Europe.
Against the European sides in the last three years, Mexico is 2-2-1 in the five matches played against them.
In the last World Cup, Mexico was able to beat France, although France was a team much weaker than in years past that showed they had their chemistry issues throughout the Cup. If Mexico can continue to stack up the wins against weaker teams on their schedule they can continue to improve, but ultimately a lack of matches against the stronger European sides hurts this team.
If faced with the decision to take Hernandez, Dos Santos, Barrera, David Villa, Fernando Torres, and Iniesta, the choice couldn't be any simpler.
There are too many teams with too much depth for this Mexican side to be able to compete with. As they have shown much struggle against teams in South America, playing a complete, deep team like a Germany, Spain, or Netherlands could be too much of an up-hill battle for this team.
Defender and captain Rafael Marquez has been and continues to be a key player for this Mexico national team. Marquez is considered one of the better players this side has to offer.
The problem is, by the time the 2014 World Cup comes around, he might just be too old to make an impact for his team. Currently 32 years of age, Marquez is aging and will be 35 when the 2014 World Cup kicks off.
Make no mistake, Marquez is a talent that has continued to play consistently for the team, but with the 2014 World Cup three years away, it could prove to be costly for the captain.
Despite his strong showing in the 2011 Gold Cup, a large reason why the team won the cup, Giovani Dos Santos is a player that is known for his inconsistent play.
A player who has played six seasons with Barcelona in La Liga and currently plays for a solid Tottenham squad in the Premier League, Dos Santos has experience with some of the world’s best teams but has failed to put up numbers on a consistent basis.
Dos Santos missed 11 games last season due to injury and was loaned to Spain’s Racing Standard for the second half of the season. He scored five goals in nine games with Racing Standard, yet took 26 shot attempts in the process.
According to a report by Fox Latino News, “eight players from the team were banned for disciplinary reasons” after being involved with prostitutes in Quito, Ecuador, last week.
This Mexican squad in particular seems to lack a sense of dedication and organization as a team that could hurt them going into the 2014 World Cup.
The players that were suspended were the following: Marco Fabian de la Mora, Javier Cortes, Néstor Calderón, Jonathan Dos Santos, Jorge Hernandez, David Cabrera, Néstor Vidrio, and Israel Jiménez.
Messing around with prostitutes after a Gold Cup victory can't exactly help this team’s chances going into the World Cup—that’s for certain.
Defender Rafael Marquez, midfielder Andres Guardado, and undoubtedly the great talent in Giovani Dos Santos are three players that can help Mexico contend in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, make no mistake about it.
Marquez, Guardado, and Dos Santos are three players that will prove key in how far this Mexican side can go in the 2014 World Cup. The question becomes whether or not these three players have enough firepower to get this Mexican team over the hump and passed the second round of the tournament.
More than likely, the three will have a solid performance in 2014, as all three players boasted strong performances in winning the Gold Cup. In the 4-2 victory, Dos Santos and Guardado accounted for two of the four goals.
Two players that could turn out to be crucial for this team could be Pablo Barrera and Javier Hernandez, two players who had quite the showing in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The two accounted for four goals in the last three matches, with Barrera netting two in the final win over the United States. Hernandez led the team with a whopping seven goals in the cup.