Mexico are World Cup regulars, having missed just five tournaments in the history of the competition. Despite qualifying for their sixth successive Mundial, they have exited at the Round of 16 at each of their last five World Cups, and will hope to go further this time around in Brazil.
Qualification: W 10, L 3, D 5. *Beat New Zealand in a play-off.
Previous World Cup appearances: 14
Best World Cup finish: Quarter-finals (1970, 1986)
Current FIFA ranking: 20
Coach: Miguel Herrera was appointed as Mexico coach in October last year, becoming the nation’s fourth coach of their World Cup qualifying game. He lead the team to a convincing 9-3 aggregate play-off win against New Zealand in his first two matches in charge, yet will face much stiffer opposition in Brazil.
Captain: Rafael Marquez has been a regular for Mexico since his debut back in February 1997, and will use all his experience to lead El Tri at his fourth World Cup. Marquez memorably scored the equaliser in his side’s opening draw against Bafana Bafana in 2010.
Key player: Javier Hernández Balcázar is the focal point of the Mexico attack, leading the line for El Tri. Blessed with electric pace and full of energy and relentless enthusiasm, ‘Chicharito’ is forever unsettling defenders with his change of direction and intelligent runs into space.
A livewire all over the park, he is constantly on the move, drifting free of defenders and nipping in and around the box in search of the killer pass or cross to convert into goals.
Despite enduring a reduced role under David Moyes at Manchester United this past season, Chicharito nevertheless had a major impact coming off the bench, saving his team’s blushes on a number of occasions. His goals-per-minute ratio, shot conversion rate and shooting accuracy are all better than that of Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Robin van Persie.
And at national level he is even better, boasting one of the best goal-scoring records in the world. Hernandez has scored 35 goals in 59 matches for his country – a better international record than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. He will only be 26 when the World Cup kicks off, but he is already Mexico’s third-highest ever goalscorer.
Key fixture: Mexico’s first game against Cameroon is probably a must-win for them if they wish to progress from a tough Group A.
13 June, 18:00 Mexico vs Cameroon
17 June, 21:00 Brazil vs Mexico
23 June, 22:00 Croatia vs Mexico
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