Mexico’s friendly against South Korea (January 29) is to record over 30,000 in attendance at the Alamodome.
Mexico’s Colombia friendly has been cancelled. Now, Nigeria will face Mexico in Atlanta on March 5th. Ecuador has also agreed on a match in May at the Cowboys stadium. Reports claim Colombia denied the friendly with Mexico and that other big name nations may have done the same.
Reports claim Piojo Herrera was impressed with Carlos Fierro of Chivas. Some believe Fierro will be a surprise call up for the South Korea match.
Nothing confirmed yet, but Mexico may face Portugal for their preparation toward Brazil 2014. New York/New Jersey has been the rumored location if the game is confirmed.
It feels like it was only a year ago that Mexico landed in South Africa to kick off the 2010 World Cup. However, by summertime, Mexico will be in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. After a shaky 2013, Mexico needs to really shake off the dust and understand the worst is behind them. With that said, here are the major question marks and positives heading into 2014 for El Tri.
Question Mark I: Will the Euro’s finally gel?
One of the most haunting aspects of the 2013 year was the total drop-off in chemistry with the Euro’s and domestic players. In 2011-12, the team had some hiccups, but for the most part did the job. There was little doubt with who lead the team, but as soon as 2013 arrived, things went haywire. The chemistry was way off, communication lacked, and Mexico never got a hold of the Hex. Even when the team needed the big name players to step up…it was usually the domestic players who put the team on their back. Now that Mexico has new direction, we will have to wait and see if they can once and for all find that form which helped claimed silverware in 2011-12.
Positive I: Winning the playoff will cause a healthy competition for spots
Miguel Herrera took a full Liga MX team to play New Zealand for the 2014 Intercontinental playoff. The choice was risky, but in the end was successful. Mexico’s domestic players didn’t crumble under pressure, and for once looked like a Mexico who was having fun. Now, the bigger stars for Mexico who were not called will have to step their game up in 2014. Because Mexico booked its 2014 ticket without them.
Question Mark II: Oribe+Raúl? Oribe+Chicharito? One striker?
Mexico scored a minimum of 4 goals in each game in November. There were some bumps with the defense, but scoring was not one of them. Raúl Jiménez and Peralta were a successful pair in the new-look Mexico. Which begs the question…what will happen when Chicharito returns? If Hernández catches fire, does Raúl sit? Or does Chicharito come off the bench as a super-sub? All these factors can be good problems to have…but also could be a headache if not sorted out.
Positive II: The midfield is no longer a weakness
Throughout the Hex and Confederations Cup, Mexico’s midfield was a mess. Several rotations made its way around, but nothing was successful. However, Herrera adding guys like Montes and Peña to the starting XI became a blessing. They continued their roll from Club to Country, and the youth aspect has been a sight for sore eyes. Gone are the days when Mexico called up “vets” in hopes that they would carry form which they once had in World Cup pasts.
Question Mark III: Will the Vela saga end?
From a spectators point of view, there is no reason why Vela has not put on La Verde since 2011. Yet, we do not know what really is going on between Carlos and the FMF. Giovani has backed Vela’s choice to decline the call-ups, and blasted the federation. He would also then say that his return to El Tri would be welcomed. Herrera also added that he would search out Vela if he stays manager for 2014. All are positive signs, but there is still no guarantee that Vela is going to be headed to Brazil 2014. The drama which started early in 2012 could very well be around by June 2014…which helps no one.
Positive III: Plenty of time to add new names
It might not seem like there is a lot of time till the 2014 World Cup, but there are many warmups ahead. This is a perfect time to throw some young blood onto the proving ground. When spots are on the line for the World Cup, players will do everything they can to get noticed. We could see the likes of Alan Pulido, Ulises Dávila, Tecatito Corona in 2014. We saw new guys like Escoboza step up when the time was right, so there is no reason to give some others a major shot to impress. This in turn creates passion, motivation, and thins out who really deserves to be in Brazil.
Mexico has a long road ahead until June, but there is no time to waste. El Tri has plenty of problems to sort out, but also has hope while looking forward to the World Cup. When the odds were against them, Mexico still survived. A solid run in Brazil will wash away the sins from 2013.
Mexico opens up the road to Brazil on January 29, 2014 against the Korea Republic (San Antonio).
Chicharito was able to reach 35 total goals for Mexico after his three in the Confederations cup run. He is now only 11 goals behind leader Jared Borgetti.
Mexico’s U-20 fell to Greece after a late goal for a final of 1-2. Mexico will need to recuperate quickly as they face Paraguay in a crucial match on June 25h. The game will start at 11:00 A.M. ET.
It appears Chepo will remain Mexico’s coach until the Autumn. Apparently there is a must win ultimatum against Honduras. If unsuccessful it will leave Mexico without a coach just days before playing the USA in Columbus.
The Dos Santos brothers have Euro clubs eyeing them. For Jonathan, Anderlecht in Belgium, and Fiorentina are two major names. As for Giovani, Valencia may be a possible destination out of second division Spain with Mallorca.
Mexico will be headed to the Gold cup in just two weeks. Their first match will be against Panama at the Rose Bowl (July 7). Be sure to check Pancho Villa’s Army to see if there is a watch-party near you!
Due to injury, Hugo Ayala and Fernando Arce will miss the Gold cup.
The FMF released a list of Europe based players called up for Mexico’s first hexagonal match against Jamaica on February 6. The match will be the first in the series of World Cup qualification and will be played at the Azteca Stadium.