Group A: Mexico

A squad made from largely domestic-based players has more spirit than ability

World Cup 2014 Team, World Cup

The team: The recurring theme running through the teams in this group – Brazil aside – is an underwhelming qualifying campaign. Mexico, too, made hard work of what seemed to be a fairly straightforward route to the tournament; they only reached the playoff round thanks to the USA beating Panama in the final group game, before dispatching New Zealand over two legs. The arduous qualification debacle cost Jose Manuel de la Torre his job, with Victor Manuel taking charge of the final two group games before Miguel Herrera took over for the playoffs. Finding some stability will be the key to Mexico’s hopes.

The coach: Miguel Herrera

Miguel Herrera stepped into the national team job fresh from guiding America to the Mexican league title. He immediately stamped his authority on the team, selecting only home-based players for the vital playoff against New Zealand. His bravery paid off, and his faith in domestic players could be the spark Mexico need in Brazil.

Key player: Javier Hernandez

The clinical forward is renowned for his impact off the bench in the Premier League, but stats of almost a goal every two games when starting for Manchester United shows that he’s more than a super-sub. He’ll need to repeat this form at the FIFA World Cup if Mexico are to have any chance.

Facts

World ranking: 19
World Cup appearances: 14
Previous best: Quarter-finals in 1970 and 1986
Qualification: Via playoffs
Form (qualifiers): DDDWDDLLWLWW
Fixtures: June 13 vs. Cameroon; June 17 vs. Brazil; June 24 vs. Croatia

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