Well Ladies and Gentlemen, in 33 days, the World will stop. The World will stop and turn on their TVs to watch 32 compete to win the most coveted cup in futbol history: The World Cup. This gold cup, with a person holding the world, is the most cherished award for a national team. Favorites have already been decided and underdogs will rise. In this 32 day tour, I will be covering each and every team, going group by group analyzing each and every team and their chances. I will predict how far they'll travel in this gauntlet of National teams, tell of their star players, and show weaknesses. The day before the tournament, I will run through each and every match picking winners. In the end, one will win, one will hoist the cup, and one country has bragging rights for the next four years. With France out the way, we move our tour on...
Mexico is next on our tour of National teams in the World Cup. Ranked 17th in the world according to FIFA, Mexico sits among a good set of teams with Serbia at 16 and Uruguay at 18. Mexico finished second in the CONCACAF qualifying, acquiring 19 points in 10 games, finishing behind the United States who grabbed 20. Mexico is a fairly young squad, with a couple of experienced players in different positions. There players play in many leagues; the Mexican leagues contain most of the National squad, with some playing in La Liga and even the Turkish League.
The squad is rather young, as stated earlier. Their keeper, Guillermo Ochoa(Americas), is only 24 years old. Even at this young age, he's risen in popularity quickly, making appearances in commercials and on the cover of the FIFA football game. Their defense is a combination of old and young with players as: Rafael Marquez (Barcelona), Carlos Salcido(PSV), Ricardo Osorio(Vfb Stuttgart), and Jose Magallon(Guadalajara). Each of these defenders have begun to shine in International play, mainly through the CONCACAF tournament. The midfielders are decent, with two standing out. Cuauhtemoc Blanco(Veracruz) and Andres Guardado(Deportivo). Both orchastrate a good, creative attack. Their forwards are young, very in fact. Giovanni Dos Santos(Galatasaray), Carlos Vela(Arsenal), and Nery Castillo(Sporting CP) are very raw in the International eye. However, they have a spark among them that is seen often.
Youth. Outside of Marquez and Blanco, this Mexican team is very young. They have a lot of room to grow and have a strong potential to be an influencial team later in the tournament. In addition, these young players are among the faster ones in the World. Dos Santos is arguably the most dynamic player on this team. He's fast, has a lot of 'flair', or capability to do tricks and skill moves, and is apt with both feet. Playing on the right wing, he cuts in with his pace and changes up the defense, opening up the lanes for other forwards and/or midfielders. The pace this team has, as a whole, is incredible. The quick pace they play at just shows beautiful futbol, not efficient futbol, can still win.
The saying 'a man's strength is also his greatest flaw' comes into play. Youth. A young squad is one who is inexperienced. Most of the Mexican team only has experiences in friendlies; these friendlies do not compare to the big stage of the World Cup. Vela, Guardado, Ochoa, Castillo, and Dos Santos all have played friendlies, but no big matches. With half the team inexperienced, how far can the Mexican fan base expect them to go? Plus, their centre midfielders are 'experienced'. Blanco is towards the tail end of his career and whoever is playing beside him isn't up to his level. Will the Mexican manager find a replacement or provide an able sub?
Even with the youth, I still see Mexico making noise. I see them being the runner-up in the group, even with Uruguay knocking at the door. With them runner-upping in group A, they play the winner in Group B, which in my bracket is Argentina. Both teams have a similar style of play, quick, stylish passing, and goals. However, Argentina is the better team hands down. I see Mexico in through to the second round, but their road stops there.
Tommorow, the host nation: South Africa!