World Cup 2014: Mexico Preview - will Hernandez even start?

Mexico football team huddle

Mexico come into the tournament with little expectation on them - but there's good reason for that.

Miguel Herrera became Mexico's fourth boss in just six months in the qualifying phase, but did manage to lead them to the World Cup in a playoff against New Zealand after a terrible campaign. Herrera has implemented a number of his own ideas which are daring and could backfire, but to understand all that has been going on with the Mexicans, here is your in-depth preview ahead of the World Cup...

The perception

Mexico have a number of talented, technically gifted players that can turn on the style but they are coming off a shocking qualifying phase where they were desperately close to missing out on World Cup qualification. Yet now with clear direction under Miguel Herrera, the Mexicans look in far better shape and should strongly challenge for the second place in Group A.

The reality

Herrera has certainly steadied the ship but things are far from perfect in the Mexican camp. In defence they are still relying on the 35-year-old Rafael Marquez, whilst some of the team's more recognisable stars such as Guillermo Ochoa and even Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez look set to miss out on roles in the starting line-up in favour of Mexican-based players. It's a bold decision from Herrera, but can it work?


With the likes of Andres Guardado and Giovani dos Santos in the team, Mexico have the pace and technical ability to break down opposing defences, whilst the hard work of Carlos Pena and Hector Herrera in the middle compensates for the attacking flair players - which could make Mexico so dangerous this summer.


Having fielded the 3-5-2 system late in qualifying, there could be some growing pains from the new formation in Brazil this summer. Meanwhile, the dependency on the ageing Marquez is a concern against teams with pace in behind, and Herrera's gamble of preferring Mexican-based players to ones based in Europe.

Key Player

Whilst many would expect this to be Hernandez, there is a very real possibility that the United star will miss out on a first team place. Instead, there will be added expectation on former Tottenham flop Giovani dos Santos, who has enjoyed a fruitful season with Villarreal. Expected to play just behind Oribe Peralta in attack, dos Santos will be the link man between the midfield and attack, and the man that they look to in order to create chances.

One to Watch

Herrera's preference of picking Mexico-based players means some players will be unfamiliar faces, and one of those will be Club Leon midfielder Carlos Pena. The 24-year-old is an athletic presence in the middle of the park and has a reputation for being a goalscoring midfielder. If he can build on that reputation, Pena could become an attractive proposition to clubs around Europe.


It entirely depends on which Mexico turn up. If it's the same team that lost 2-1 to Costa Rica in qualifying then they would almost certainly struggle against the likes of Brazil and Croatia in Group A. If they manage to gel as a unit in the new 3-5-2 system under Herrera, then they will be strongly challenging with Croatia for the second spot in the group.

Predicted line-up

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