The Mexicans have endured a very rocky road to the World Cup and they were not rewarded with a friendly draw, although it must be said it’s much better than their traditional rivals to the north’s draw. Placed in with the home nation, a sneakily talented Croatia squad and a Cameroonian squad that is not to be scoffed at. The Mexican team will have to play at their highest level to escape from this group, something that they have not done in quite some time. With Carlos Vela, arguably their most talented player, deciding that he has no interest in a world cup, and absolute turmoil at the managerial position, El Tri will look to Miguel Herrera to steady the ship and help the men from Mexico progress. Gifted a place in the playoff by their aforementioned northern rivals, the Mexicans are desperate to prove they belong.
While Jesus Corona has featured heavily in qualifying, look for Ajaccio man and former FIFA cover boy Guillermo Ochoa to start at the back for El Tri. Ochoa should anchor the defense and although he has had his run-ins with the Mexican Federation, he looks to have smoothed things over en route to a starting spot in Brazil. If Ochoa were to fall victim to an injury buy, Corona does have the experience to handle the spotlight, but is firmly the second choice.
With Herrera’s penchant for playing a 5-3-2 formation, the strong Mexican defense will undoubtedly feature heavily in their tactical set up. With three strong center-backs, Diego Reyes, Rafa Marquez, and Hector Moreno, Herrera will be able to utilize his favored formation to the best of its potential. All of that group are very solid and Marquez’s experience should make up for the lack of experience from his counterparts. If any of that group were to fall, Carlos Salcido can be serviceable at the center back position. On the flanks Herrera will look for Miguel Layun, one of his favorites from his time at Club America, and Paul Aguilar, to bomb up the wings and join the attack.
Fans of El Tri may want to keep reading the defensive segment over and over, for this is not a segment for the weak-hearted. The Mexican midfield is a mild disaster. With seemingly no options at the defensive midfield, Carlos Pena will be forced into an uncomfortable role as a deep-lying midfielder playing in front of three center backs. Marco Fabian will also feature heavily but is not an offensive force, the attacking midfield position may fall to veteran Andres Guardado. There are a myriad of options for Herrera but none fit his formation.
As expected Gio dos Santos and Chicharito will be the the two front men for El Tri. Despite dips in form for dos Santos and Chicharito having the best seat in the house for the majority of Manchester United matches, Herrera is expected to go with the two most talented players at his disposal. Other options for the Mexicans include in-form Alan Pulido and Santos Laguna striker Oribe Peralta.