The Mexicans have enjoyed a rich vein of form prior to this FIFA World Cup, putting together a run of eight games without defeat. They also have a good World Cup record, progressing beyond the group stages in every tournament they’ve qualified for. So, the signs are good – providing coach Javier Aguirre can solve his midfield conundrum.
After Sven Goran Eriksson’s best efforts to hash up Mexico’s qualification for the 2010 World Cup, local favourite Javier Aguirre (fondly referred to as El Vasco) returned to steady the ship and clinch a spot in South Africa. Unlike his Swedish predecessor, Aguirre, who was capped 43 times for his country, has an in-depth knowledge of Mexican football and, most importantly, the respect of his players.
Player to watch
Despite showing great promise as a youngster with Arsenal, Vela has yet to make an impact on the Premiership. However, the dynamic forward has already proved his worth for his country after helping Mexico win the 2005 FIFA U17 World Championship, scoring five goals in the process. This World Cup gives him the chance to prove his world-class calibre.
We’re on the ball
World Cup appearances: 11
Previous best: Quarter-finals, 1970 & 1986
Strange but true: Mexico was banned from the 1990 FIFA World Cup for fielding over-age players in an international U20 tournament.
Odds of winning: 80/1
Fixtures: South Africa, June 11, 6pm, Johannesburg France, June 17, 10.30pm, Polokwane Uruguay, June 22, 6pm, Rustenburg