El Tri will arrive in Brazil with their strongest team ever assembled, at least on paper. Never before has Mexico gone to a World Cup after having won an olympic gold medal. This year Mexico sends nine olympic champions from the London games in 2012. This is a team that defeated Brazil in that 2012 London final, where the Brazilians had the likes of Neymar and Hulk on their squad, their’s was no B team.
This Mexican squad looks good on paper, but the obvious concern for them is the disastrous World Cup Qualifiers of 2013, that almost left them out of the cup. But the 2013 qualifying squad wasn’t managed by Luis Fernando Tena, who coached El Tri to their first-ever olympic gold medal. Some argue, including this writer, that Tena should have been put at the helm of the 2013 squad, up to this day. But he graciously stepped aside to allow Chepo de la Torre, who won a 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, a chance to save qualification and his job. That proved to be too risky, as players and morale went out the window under De la Torre. Out went Carlos Vela, and for a time Marco Fabián wasn’t called up during qualifiers.
Now that 2012 Olympic Champion squad, very wisely, is being reassembled and reinforced with players playing in Europe, which has never occurred in the history of the Mexican National Team.
In addition to the olympic championship, there are players that experienced winning the 2011 Gold Cup, and Liga MX Champions taken from Clubs Toluca, América and León. As the Adidas Brazuca feature on Mexico says, it’s truly now or never for Mexico to excel in a World Cup, as they’ve never sent as strong a side to the cup until now.
Mexican Olympic Champions at London 2012:
José de Jesús Corona (Cruz Azul)
Carlos Salcido (Tigres)
Diego Reyes (Porto)
Miguel Ponce (Toluca)
Marco Fabián (Cruz Azul)
Héctor Herrera (Porto)
Giovanni Dos Santos (Villareal)
Oribe Peralta (Santos Laguna / América)
Raúl Jiménez (América)
2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Champions
Rafael Márquez (León)
Andrés Guardado (Bayer Leverkusen)
Javier Hernández (Manchester United)
Héctor Moreno (Espanyol)
Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)
Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio)
Liga MX Champions
Paul Aguilar (América)
Isaác Brizuela (Toluca)
Miguel Layún (América)
Luis Montes (León)
Carlos Peña (León)
Francisco Rodríguez (América)
José Juan Vásquez (León)
It should be noted that Guillermo Ochoa didn’t see too much action during the 2011 Gold Cup, except for a match against El Salvador in the group stage. Alfredo Talavera then played the
remaining two games of the group stage and the subsequent quarterfinal, semifinal and final matches.
Alan Pulido has Mexico U23 experience but not a championship title. However, he made the final cut by demonstrating an explosive, streaking form in recent games, in which he scored a hat-trick, and a game-tying goal against the United States to end their 2-0 hegemony and streak over Mexico.