Factfile on Mexico who are in World Cup Group C:
Best World Cup performance: Quarter finals in 1970 and 1986.
Honours: Eight CONCACAF Gold Cups, 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2012 Olympic gold medal.
FIFA ranking: 13.
Main clubs: America, Cruz Azul, Guadalajara, Pumas.
How they qualified: Finished second in the North, Central America and Caribbean region final qualifiers.
Coach: Gerardo Martino – The Argentinian, who turns 60 on the first day of the World Cup, was appointed in 2019 with the goal of leading the “Tri” to the quarter-finals for the first time in more than three decades. Martino led Atlanta United to the US Major League Soccer Cup title in 2018 and was named coach of the year. He has also managed Barcelona as well as the Argentine and Paraguayan national teams.
Key player: Guillermo Ochoa – The 37-year-old is the Mexican national team’s most capped goalkeeper and holds the record at his Club America for the most games without conceding a goal. Easily recognisable with his curly hair and headband, Ochoa spent three seasons with French side Ajaccio before being chosen as Mexico’s first-choice goalkeeper at the 2014 World Cup. He won plaudits that year for almost single-handedly holding mighty Brazil at bay to help his side earn a precious 0-0 draw.
Expectations and key players according to Gio Garcia, LA Soccer Hub:
“The expectations for the Mexican National Team are always high especially for a National Team that has very passionate fan base(s) in both Mexico and the U.S. The “quinto partido” aka the fifth game has been difficult to reach, Mexico has not made it to the fifth game dating to back to the 1986 World Cup. Currently there’s a lot of questions with head coach Tata Martino due to the players he has called up/ left out for the exhibition games leading up to Qatar. Most notably leaving out the nations highest ever goal scorer Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. With that said I expect Mexico to slightly make it out of the group stage but unfortunately get knock out in the first round.”.
“Mexico’s key players to watch in Qatar are Guillermo Ochoa, Edson Alvarez and Chucky Lozano. Ochoa has always showed up in the World Cup no matter the situation. Edson Alvarez continues to grow with his Ajax club while Chucky Lozano’s Napoli are having an incredible season this year.”
November 22: Mexico v Poland.
November 26: Argentina v Mexico.
November 30: Saudi Arabia v Mexico.
Goalkeeper: Guillermo Ochoa (America), Alfredo Talavera (Juarez), Rodolfo Cota (Leon).
Defenders: Jorge Sanchez (Ajax/NED), Kevin Alvarez (Pachuca), Nestor Araujo (America), Cesar Montes (Monterrey), Hector Moreno (Monterrey), Johan Vasquez (Cremonese/ITA), Gerardo Arteaga (Genk/BEL), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey)
Midfielders: Edson Alvarez (Ajax/NED), Luis Chavez (Pachuca), Carlos Rodriguez (Cruz Azul), Andres Guardado (Betis/ESP), Hector Herrera (Houston Dynamo/USA), Erick Gutierrez (PSV Eindhoven/NED), Orbelin Pineda (AEK Athens/GRE), Uriel Antuna (Cruz Azul), Diego Lainez (Sporting Braga/POR).
Forwards: Henry Martin (America), Raul Jimenez (Wolverhampton/ENG), Rogelio Funes Mori (Monterrey), Santiago Gimenez (Feyenoord/NED), Alexis Vega (Guadalajara), Hirving Lozano (Napoli/ITA).
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