The 2018 World Cup is one of the most highly anticipated sporting events in history and Mexico has staked its claim as a potential dark horse.
The “mexico national football team players” is a list of all the players in Mexico’s World Cup roster.
At the risk of getting ahead of ourselves, Mexico’s men’s national team is on the verge of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, if there isn’t a repeat of the USMNT’s historic failure in 2017.
El Tri are in third position in CONCACAF’s eight-team qualifying stage, behind Canada and the United States, with a four-point lead over fourth-place Panama. Mexico must finish in the top three to qualify for the World Cup directly, with fourth place requiring an intercontinental playoff.
– CONCACAF rankings for World Cup qualifying – How the USMNT and Mexico may qualify for the 2022 World Cup – Stream on ESPN+: Ftbol Americas – FC Daily If you don’t have ESPN, you’re out of luck. Get immediate access
El Tri will cap up their last Octagonal sprint with straightforward qualifiers against Honduras on March 27 and El Salvador on March 30, despite their next qualifier being a tough one at home against the United States (second position with 21 points) on March 24. Honduras, who will face Mexico, is already out of contention for the World Cup, with three points putting them at the bottom of the standings. El Salvador (sixth in the standings with nine points) might be eliminated from the race before the game at Estadio Azteca.
Mexico manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino unveiled a 29-man squad before of the matches, which included several shocks and omissions. While several top players have already committed to Qatar, there are still a number of roles and positions available.
With that in mind, we’ve put ourselves in Martino’s shoes to assess his possible player pool and estimate who the Mexican coach would choose for his 23-man team for the event, which begins in late November.
Tiers of goalkeepers | Back-to-back tiers | Tiers from the center to the back | Tiers in the midfield | Tiers of wingers | Tiers of strikers | Squad Prediction (and final thoughts)
The World Cup will feature ‘Chucky’ Lozano and Guillermo Ochoa. Is there, however, a place for ‘Chaka’ Rodriguez? USA TODAY Sports’ Isaiah J. Downing
This is how we’re going about it.
Because of Martino’s preference for a 4-3-3 configuration, we’ve divided the study into six position categories, each with four levels. The levels are determined by players’ club and national team performances, as well as their relevance to the national team and a number of other considerations.
Tier 1: Expected to be a starter. Players who are obvious starters at their positions on the roster.
Tier 2: Contributor to the World Cup. Players that are projected to be on the roster and contribute on the field as starters or substitutes.
Tier three is the roster bubble. Competition for a spot on the 23-man roster and roster depth.
Tier 4: This time, no. Players that have been around the squad but are unlikely to be considered for selection.
If Mexico qualifies for the World Cup, who will be there? Let’s take a look at what Martino could be thinking.
Tiers of goalkeepers
When it comes to goalkeepers, there’s Guillermo Ochoa and then there’s everyone else. After serving as Mexico’s starting goalkeeper in both the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, the 36-year-old is expected to start in 2022 as well.
When it comes to Ochoa’s replacements, Martino has tended to choose more experienced individuals since taking over in 2019. Alfredo Talavera, 39, has continued to get called up to the national team. Rodolfo Cota, 34, has found a new lease on life as perhaps the greatest goalkeeper in Liga MX so far this season with Leon (despite some recent noteworthy blunders). However, El Tri chances for veterans have been limited, and other possibilities like as Jonathan Orozco or Hugo Gonzalez may be able to outperform them.
Carlos Acevedo has a promising future, but he has been kept out of the present mix by a stable of veterans. Erich Schlegel is a sports reporter for USA TODAY.
Carlos Acevedo, 25, of Santos Laguna, looks to be the most probable teenager to make the World Cup squad, particularly after starting in a friendly in December, but he has yet to be handed minutes in the Octagonal round. Real Salt Lake’s 21-year-old goalkeeper David Ochoa has yet to be called up by Martino after his one-time transfer from the USMNT.
G. Ochoa, Cota, and Talavera are among the choices.
Tier One: (none)
Tier 2: Luis “Chaka” Rodriguez (Monterrey), Gerardo Arteaga (Genk), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey) (Tigres)
Tier 3: LA Galaxy’s Julian Araujo, Club America’s Jorge Sanchez, Monterrey’s Erick Aguirre, and Alan Mozo (Pumas)
Tier 4: Osvaldo Rodriguez (Leon), Salvador Reyes (Club America), Jose David “Avion” Ramirez (Leon), Alejandro Mayorga (Cruz Azul), Kevin Alvarez (Pachuca), Vladimir Loroa (Club Tijuana), Miguel Layun (Club America), Fernando Navarro (Pachuca), Omar Campos (Santos Laguna), Emilio Lara (Pachuca), Kevin Alvarez (Club America)
It’s no secret that Mexico’s left-back and right-back positions have deteriorated. Both Jesus Gallardo and Luis “Chaka” Rodriguez have exhibited symptoms of stagnation for club and country, putting their positions in jeopardy. While Gallardo was called up for Mexico’s World Cup qualifiers in March, Chaka was abruptly released.
If Gerardo Arteaga continues to impress for Genk in Belgium, he may be able to take more minutes away from Gallardo at left-back. Erick Aguirre might also be a surprise World Cup inclusion if he can help Monterrey turn around their poor season. His ability to play in the midfield also helps his prospects.
Chaka should be aware of LA Galaxy’s Julian Araujo on the right side of the full-back discussion. Due to his outstanding national team debut in December and an effective showing as a sub in a February qualifier against Panama, the Mexican-American has soared up the El Tri depth chart.
Julian Araujo might improve Mexico’s right-back position, which has been a source of concern. Michael Thomas/AP Photo
Jorge Sanchez should be a near-lock at right-back, but he has not to achieve the heights that many have anticipated of him, creating an opening for Araujo. Alan Mozo is another worth mentioning, given to his great performances with Pumas in 2022, but Martino has shown little interest in bringing him back into the mix.
Gallardo, Arteaga, L. Rodriguez, and Araujo are among the likely candidates.
Tiers from the center to the back
Hector Moreno (Tier 1) (Monterrey)
Nestor Araujo (Celta Vigo), Johan Vasquez (Genoa), and Cesar Montes are in the second tier (Monterrey)
Tier 3: Cruz Azul’s Julio “Cata” Dominguez, Toronto FC’s Carlos Salcedo, Tigres’ Jesus Alberto Angulo, and Israel Reyes (Puebla)
Gilberto “Tiba” Sepulveda (Chivas), Jordan Silva (Club America), Luis Olivas (Chivas), Diego Reyes (Tigres), Victor Guzman (Club Tijuana), Haret Ortega (Club Tijuana). Tier 4: Gilberto “Tiba” Sepulveda (Chivas), Jordan Silva (Club America), Luis Olivas (Chivas), Diego Reyes (Tigres), Victor (Toluca)
Hector Moreno, 34, no longer has the same quickness and speed as he once had, and there are no promises that he will be a regular starter for Monterrey, but the long-time veteran is still a brilliant distributor and a commanding presence in the air. When completely healthy and available, Martino’s main concern has been who will play with Moreno in the middle of the defense.
Will Hector Moreno be the defensive anchor for Mexico, and who will be his center-back partner? EPA-EFE/Rodrigo Sura
Nestor Araujo, Johan Vasquez, and Cesar Montes are now vying for the second position. In a back line that still needs development, it wouldn’t be surprising if a combination of these three younger possibilities finally pushes Moreno to the bench.
Julio “Cata” Dominguez’s versatility as a center-back or right-back puts him in contention among Tier 3 players. Carlos Salcedo, now with Toronto FC in Major League Soccer, is a seasoned defender who has seen his stock drop since his Eintracht Frankfurt days. Jesus Alberto Angulo of the Tigres is another probable wild card who might beat Martino at the final minute. After being named in Martino’s latest call-up, Puebla’s Israel Reyes is another someone to keep an eye on.
Moreno, Araujo, Vasquez, and Montes are among the likely candidates.
Tiers in the midfield
Hector Herrera (Atletico Madrid), Edson Alvarez, Hector Herrera (Atletico Madrid), Hector Herrera (Atletico Madrid), Hector Herrera (A (Ajax Amsterdam)
Tier 2: Real Betis’ Andres Guardado, Cruz Azul’s Carlos “Charly” Rodriguez, and Luis Romo (Monterrey)
Tier 3: Alan Cervantes (Club America), Erick Gutierrez (PSV Eindhoven), Sebastian Cordova (Tigres), Erik Lira (Cruz Azul), Jonathan dos Santos (Club America) (Santos Laguna)
Tier 4: Marcelo Flores (Arsenal), Alfonso “Ponchito” Gonzalez (Monterrey), Marcel Ruiz (Club Tijuana), Erick Sanchez (Pachuca), Fernando Beltran (Chivas), Luis Chavez (Pachuca), Jose Joaquin Esquivel (FC Juarez), Victor Guzman (Pachuca), Jose Ivan Rodriguez (Pachuca), Jose Ivan Rodriguez (Pachuca), Jose I (Leon)
Hector Herrera should remain a major component of El Tri’s midfield regardless of his imminent transfer from LaLiga to MLS with the Houston Dynamo this summer. Martino stated last month that he was the “greatest player that Mexico has.” Edson Alvarez of Ajax is another immovable presence in a three-man setup beside him in the middle of a 4-3-3 formation.
But what is the third member of this trio’s name? Even if Andres Guardado is the captain and has a significant effect on the team, the 35-year-old Real Betis midfielder hasn’t been ruled out as a substitute option during qualifiers. He was also left out of the most recent call-up due to recent injury issues.
Carlos “Charly” Rodriguez of Cruz Azul is another strong candidate for minutes following a stellar season for both club and nation. Both may start together when someone like Alvarez is unavailable, as witnessed in a handful of recent El Tri games.
Mexico’s midfield is anchored by Hector Herrera and Edson Alvarez. Getty Images/Ralph Freso
Four midfielders have been chosen, perhaps leaving one or two spots open on the 23-man squad. Erick Gutierrez of PSV Eindhoven should easily be in the mix following his impressive season overseas, but he lacks the flexibility of Monterrey’s Luis Romo. Sebastian Cordova, Erik Lira, Jonathan dos Santos, and Alan Cervantes are all on the outside looking in at the moment.
Marcelo Flores, Erick Sanchez, and Marcel Ruiz are among the remaining players who are unlikely to participate, but they are all young wild cards to watch.
Herrera, Alvarez, Guardado, C. Rodriguez, and Romo are the likely starters.
Tiers of wingers
Tier 1: Jesus “Tecatito” Corona (Napoli), Hirving “Chucky” Lozano (Napoli) (Sevilla)
Tier 2: Uriel Antuna (Celta Vigo), Orbelin Pineda (Celta Vigo) (Cruz Azul)
Diego Lainez (Real Betis), Rodolfo Pizarro (Monterrey), and Roberto Alvarado (Real Betis) are in the third tier (Chivas)
Tier 4: Jairo Torres (Atlas), Alejandro Zendejas (Club America), Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy), Benjamin Galdames (Union Espanola), Karel Campos (Club America), Mauro Lainez (Club America), Jesus “Canelo” Angulo (Club America), Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy), Benjamin Galdames (Union Espanola), Karel Campo (Chivas)
Hirving “Chucky” Lozano and Jesus “Tecatito” Corona will start on the flanks now that LAFC star Carlos Vela has ruled himself out of the national team picture. Oberlin Pineda has been left off the March World Cup qualifying team, presumably owing to a lack of playing time at Celta, although he remains the best back-up to Lozano. Uriel Antuna of Cruz Azul has often emerged as Martino’s next option following Corona on the right.
Mexico’s ‘Tecatito’ Corona will be an important component, but Diego Lainez must earn a place. Getty Images/RICARDO MAKYN/AFP
Diego Lainez of Real Betis is on the team for the March qualifiers, but his trip to Qatar is far from certain. It may seem harsh to leave out a player who has made crucial contributions for Mexico off the bench this season, but a significant lack of club minutes may be enough to keep him out.
If Martino wants to bring in additional experience, Rodolfo Pizarro, who is back in the mix for the March qualifiers, may make the cut. Roberto Alvarado has also been mentioned as a player who can play many positions.
Lozano, Corona, Pineda, and Antuna are the likely candidates.
Tiers of strikers
Up forward, it’s Raul Jimenez first, then everyone else, much like the goalie position. The Wolves striker is the heart of Mexico’s attack, but there’s still a fight for a backup slot behind him.
In theory, it should be Rogelio Funes Mori of Monterrey, but the Monterrey striker has only scored once in eight Octagonal outings. Injury difficulties that kept him out of Mexico’s call-up in March won’t help matters. Henry Martin of Club America could soon overtake Funes Mori in the depth chart, but Martino hasn’t handed him many starts in World Cup qualifiers. Despite the fact that Alexis Vega’s primary position is on the left wing, his flexibility to play as a centre attacker makes him a viable alternative.
Santiago Gimenez, a 20-year-old striker for Cruz Azul, is a dark horse. Like Flores in the midfield, he may be too young to make the final squad, but he has a tremendous amount of natural skill. Gimenez might be a breakthrough player in Mexico’s next three qualifiers, with no other names clinching a backup striker berth.
Raul Jimenez’s backup, Santiago Gimenez, might be a solid choice. Michael Thomas/AP Photo
It would be simple and quick to bring in Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Mexico’s all-time greatest goalscorer, to fill the backup position, but he hasn’t played for El Tri since 2019.
Jimenez, Funes Mori, and Vega are among the likely candidates.
Finally, here’s our whole anticipated 23-man team (and final thoughts)
Guillermo Ochoa, Rodolfo Cota, and Alfredo Talavera are the three goalkeepers.
Defenders (8): Jesus Gallardo, Gerardo Arteaga, Luis “Chaka” Rodriguez, Julian Araujo, Hector Moreno, Nestor Araujo, Johan Vasquez, Cesar Montes, Cesar Montes, Cesar Montes, Cesar Montes, Cesar Montes, Cesar Montes, Cesar Montes, Cesar Montes, Cesar Montes, Cesar Montes, Cesar Montes, Cesar Montes, Cesar Monte
Hector Herrera, Edson Alvarez, Andres Guardado, Carlos “Charly” Rodriguez, and Luis Romo are the five midfielders.
Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Jesus “Tecatito” Corona, Orbelin Pineda, and Uriel Antuna are the four wingers.
Raul Jimenez, Rogelio Funes Mori, and Alexis Vega are the three strikers for the Strikers.
Let’s start with the optimistic viewpoint. Few national teams would feel confident facing a Lozano-Jimenez-Corona frontline on paper. The midfield is transitioning, despite its age, with “Charly” Rodriguez leading the way. Martino has the defensive skills to make the back line a strong one in the future. Finally, in net, Ochoa thrives on the grandest of stages and will undoubtedly add to his impressive list of saves.
Let’s get into some pessimism now that that’s out of the way.
As thrilling as a best XI would seem, Mexico’s chances of winning might be jeopardized if any of their key players are injured or unavailable. Jimenez’s injury difficulties have seldom resulted in a regular starting lineup with the preferred frontline, as evidenced in the attack over the last year or two. When Herrera and Guardado are expected to assist maintain control in the middle, there is an alarming lack of pace.
Martino has the appropriate resources for the back line, but will he use them wisely or continue with some uninspiring names who have been on the decline? In net, Ochoa should be alright, but after him, it’s difficult to be optimistic about the options.
Mexico should have enough enough to get to the World Cup knockout stage, but it’s anyone’s guess how long they’ll endure after that.
The “Mexico qualifiers schedule” is a list of the matches that Mexico will play in order to qualify for the World Cup. Reference: mexico qualifiers schedule.
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