Confederations Cup Tactical Analysis: Mexico

With the Confederations Cup around the corner, Goal analyses the systems of each side. In this edition, we look at Olympic champions, Mexico...
Mexico had beaten Brazil comprehensively in the London Olympics to win the gold medal at the expense of the 2014 World Cup hosts. However the Olympics being primarily a youth tournament with only three players over the age of 23 allowed in the squad, this is an entirely different ball game when Mexico travel to Brazil for the Confederations Cup.

El Tri have not really enjoyed the best campaign in their World Cup Qualifiers too, being held by Costa Rica and Panama while their last victory was courtesy a 1-0 against Jamaica.

Coach and System

Jose Manuel de la Torre, or popularly nicknamed as 'Chepo' took over the reins of Mexico in October 2010 and has done great work by making them arguably the strongest nation in North America as they won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2011.

He also possesses an enviable record of losing only thrice, but the amount of bore draws played out by his otherwise exciting side have muddled his excellent coaching of the national team. The draws have again come back to haunt Mexico who now occupy the last of the three CONCACAF Qualification places for the World Cup, having drawn five and won only one of their 6 games so far with Costa Rica and USA above them.

Coaching record –
Games Wins Draws Losses Win %
37 22 12 3 59.46

Chepo usually employs a standard 4-4-2 formation which can be modified to a 4-4-1-1 at will when he decides to forgo playing with 2 strikers upfront and instead decides to play Javier Hernandez alone upfront with an attacking midfielder who provides the through balls for the Manchester United.

If Monterrey's Aldo De Nigris plays, then he will link up upfront to play in a double striker system. De Nigris has had a great season in Mexico having scored 8 goals in 19 appearances. Giovanni Dos Santos is usually the preferred option to play behind Hernandez.

With great pace and vision, especially when he puts on the El Tri colours, Dos Santos is at his very best with the national team no matter what his club form might be.

Valencia's Andres Guardado will be deployed on the left flank while Pablo Barrera will play on the right. In central midfield while Gerardo Torrado will be expected to sit back and mop up attacks, Monterrey's Jesus Zavala will be the box-to-box midfielder who besides his defensive duties is also expected to make those late surging runs into the box.

The dependable Hector Moreno and Francisco Rodriguez will be the central defenders while veteran Carlos Salcido will be deployed behind the roving Guardado to provide adequate cover.

With the raw pace of Dos Santos and Hernandez, Mexico can put any defense under the sword. Especially Hernandez who loves playing on the shoulders of the last defender thus drawing him out of position and thereby allowing one of his midfielders to exploit the situation.

Meanwhile in the flanks too the explosive Guardado and Barrera provide a lot of natural width and with the diminutive Manchester United striker being a great header of the ball as well, opposition teams will need to prevent the torrent of crosses directed towards him.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths: In Javier Hernandez, Mexico have a natural goal scorer and one of the best poachers in the world who more often than not makes even a half chance count. While Dos Santos might not be lighting up the world with his club displays, in Mexican colours the attacking midfielder is a force to reckon with.

Weaknesses: Chepo's tactics often make Mexico playing on the break and being hard to break down. When teams do sit back and allow them to have possession, they aren't able to attack and score goals. Moreover the full backs are mostly defensive and will not offer much in attacking impetus going forward.

Star man: Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez

Javier Hernandez is always in sublime goal scoring form when he plays for Mexico and this tournament will be a major stage where he can make his mark on the international stage.

Although mostly used as a late substitute for the Premier League champions, the talented striker has almost always delivered the goods when called upon by his manager.

With 32 goals in just 50 appearances for his country, going by statistics there are very few players who can beat that goals to games ratio in world football. His ability to draw defenders out of position especially with the abundance of raw pace which also allows him to open up spaces for his other players in a crowded defense.

Even though he is just 5ft 9in, he is a good header of the ball, He has the ability to leave most defenders for dead, if they fail to stop him at first go.

What do you make of Mexico's chances? Send in your thoughts in the comments below or discuss with the writer on Twitter @hopelessk.

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