10 Reasons Mexico Can Challenge at World Cup 2014
If you ask Mexican soccer fans what's the best thing that could happen to them, the answer you'll get, by far is: being world champions
Yes, there's no secret that El Tri drives people crazy, and that the closest they've been to the cup was in 2005 and 2011, when the U-17 team won the youth competition, allowing fans to experience, in its due proportion, what it felt.
But not everything is lost for the first team. Actually, there might be hope for Brazil 2014...
Mexico has shown maturity through the years and strong pace as time has gone by.
The groundbreaking moment of the team was the USA 1994 World Cup. Ever since, Mexico has qualified in every round of 16 and has been close to advancing to quarter-finals.
Something El Tri has always shown is passion. The players give their best when facing tough teams, especially Europeans.
For instance, Mexico beat France at South Africa 2010, when everybody thought that a tie would be the best result they could get.
José Manuel De La Torre
If Chepo keeps working the way he has, the team will continue to mature and grow. So far, de la Torre has only lost one match, against Brazil.
Nonetheless, Mexico won the Gold Cup and will dispute the Confederations Cup, which they haven't played since 2005.
2011 Gold Cup Champions
When Mexico was losing 2-0 in the final match against USA it seemed like there was nothing else to do but to hang in there and hope that there were no more goals.
Instead, the team tied the match before the first half ended and went on to win the cup 4-2 with superb performances by the youngsters.
In de la Torre's era, Mexico came from being a so-so team to a functional one, with options and tactic plays.
Friendly matches have been important for young footballers who need to show consistency and good performance to replace those who might not get to Brazil 2014.
2011 Pan American Games Champions
After 12 years, Mexico grabbed the gold medal at the Pan American Games held in Guadalajara.
Some of the players redeemed themselves from the lousy performance they had at the Copa América and showed they do have what it takes to represent Mexico against first-class teams, such as Argentina and Uruguay.
Now, some of them can dream of becoming part of the first team.
Winning the World Cup in the Estadio Azteca was, by far, one of the best moments in Mexico's football history.
But, most importantly, it was the perfect shot to see how good these new kids are and how much they can offer, as long as they keep up with the good work.
Maybe we'll get to see them play a few minutes in Brazil.
U-20 Third Place
The expectations were high, especially after the U-17 team had won the championship.
Anyway, the U-20 squad had a slow start, losing to Argentina,, defeating North Korea and tying with England at the group stage.
Nevertheless, they managed to win against Cameroon (round of 16), as well as the host, Colombia (quarter-finals) before Brazil beat them in the semifinals.
The team went to play against France for the third place, which Mexico won 3-1.
We'll surely see several players from this squad at Brazil 2014, which will give El Tri a new face.
Carlos Salcido is just one of the experienced players who can get a spot in the Brazil 2014 squad.
El Tri will surely need some footballers that can keep the balance and cool on the pitch. If de la Torre mixes youngsters with players who have had World Cup experience, he will have a very dynamic team.
Javier Hernández, Pablo Barrera, Héctor Moreno and Giovani dos Santos are some of the young footballers who have played in the most important tournaments, including the 2010 World Cup.
When that happened, they were younger. When it's time to prepare and eventually compete in Brazil 2014, they will surely have had plenty of time to mature and consolidate.