Goal.com's Mexico team picks the 23-man roster each feels is best suited to guide El Tricolor to success in South Africa this summer.
Sylvestre Adame's Roster
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa, Jonathan Orozco
The odds of two goalkeepers going down in the World cup are slim so why take 3? If Ochoa can recapture his old form, that made teams like Manchester United take note, then Mexico should be just fine.
Defenders: Paul Aguilar, Rafael Marquez, Carlos Salcido, Hector Moreno, Ricardo Osorio, Efrain Juarez, Francisco Rodriguez
The beauty of having Carlos Salcido and Ricardo Osorio is that you can put them virtually anywhere in the back line, which comes in handy in case of an injury. Paul Aguilar and Efrain Juarez have proven deadly when they can find the space down the wings.
Midfielders: Andres Guardado, Pablo Barrera, Braulio Luna, Gerardo Torrado, Israel Castro, Luis Miguel Noriega, Xavier Baez, Jonathan Dos Santos,
The midfield should be deep as they are the ones that risk more injury. Dos Santos still looks a bit sketchy but he posses a lethal mid range shot that can not go unnoticed. Baez has earned a call up but unfortunately Aguirre hasn’t seen it.
Forwards: Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Vela, Guillermo Franco, Giovani Dos Santos, Miguel Sabah,
Blanco will provide the experience and leadership for the squad in the World Cup. El Chicharito has cemented his spot on the squad while Vela will need to stay healthy when playing with El Tri.
The key to Mexico’s roster will be the diversity of their players. A lot player’s posses the Ability to play in different positions which will come in handy with the wear and tear of the World Cup.
Andrea Martinez's Roster
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa, Luis Michel, Jonathan Orozco
The goalkeeping issue has probably given Javier Aguirre quite a few issues lately, and it’s not because of the lack of talent. It seems like Aguirre knows who he’s taking in these spots and he has Ochoa pinned down for the first spot, and now he’s just trying to figure out who the back up will be in case of emergency. Jesus Corona, who seemed to be a lock for a spot earlier in Aguirre’s campaign, has lost his place to the other goalkeepers through his recent legal problems.
Defenders: Ricardo Osorio, Efrain Juarez, Rafael Marquez, Hector Moreno, Jonny Magallon, Carlos Salcido, Francisco ‘Maza’ Rodriguez, Paul Aguilar
There is a good mix of experience and youth in Mexico’s back line. If something were to happen to the experienced defenders, the younger players would not struggle as they regularly feature for their club sides and perform at decent levels. Plus, as many of the older players start to retire from the international team it’ll leave the younger players with more experience to take control of the spots.
Midfielders: Gerardo Torrado, Israel Castro, Jonathan Dos Santos, Giovanni Dos Santos, Andres Guardado, Pablo Barrera, Braulio Luna
The midfield has been narrowed down over the course of the recent friendly games. The newest surprise additions, Jonathan Dos Santos and Braulio Luna, have worked out for Aguirre and they seem to mesh well with the team that their inclusion is certain.
Forwards: Alberto Medina, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Javier Hernandez, Guillermo Franco, Carlos Vela
The recent game against New Zealand showed that Javier Hernandez and Carlos Vela can play together up top, and Hernandez’s current scoring form(early with Chivas and now with the national team) is hard to ignore. Blanco has a redeemed ticket since his return to the national team under Aguirre and even if he can not contribute as much as he once used to, it seems like something(a World Cup) is owed to him. Franco is taken into account by his club team and is scoring goals. And although Alberto Medina does not perform at the same levels with the national team as he does with Chivas, he keeps on returning to el Tri under Aguirre making it seem like he’s in the manager’s plans.
Sergio Tristan's Roster
Javier Aguirre has stated that he has locked up 18 players in his mind for the upcoming Fifa World Cup in South Africa. He continues to state that there are players with possiblities to enter and that he will continue to monitor players with their respective clubs. However, the time is thinning and in my opinion the following are the 23 players that will make the final trip to South Africa.
Goalkeeper: Memo Ochoa, Luis E. Michel, Jonathon Orozco
Corona is out. Aguirre is not going to allow an outside the field media attention issue disturb the team's concentration prior to the World Cup. I do not care how many times El Vasco claims that Corona has a shot, if he truly had a shot then he would have been called up at least once in the last two games. Also, Aguirre knows that the second or third string goalkeepers have little chance of playing so why risk the team's focus over a second or third string goalkeeper. Orozco will be the third stringer and Michel will play backup. The team takes priority over the individual.
Defenders: Rafael Marquez, Ricardo Osorio, Carlos Salcido, Hector Moreno, 'Maza' Rodriguez, Efrain Juarez, Johnny Magallon
The best section of the Mexican team, and most experienced, continues to be the defense. Although, there are some prospects in Mexico besides Johnny Magallon and Efrain Juarez who could contribute in South Africa the reality is that the best players are in Europe for a reason...they are the best.
Midfielders: Gerardo Torrado, Israel Castro, Andres Guardado, Jonathon Dos Santos, Braulio Luna, Pablo Barrera, Luis Noriega
The midfield remains a mystery with Aguirre and he probably has the most doubts over who to take in the middle of the pitch. I believe firmly that Torrado, Castro, Guardado, and Luna are locked in for sure leaving Dos Santos, Barrera, and Noriega as major possiblities. Although I believe these three players should go the biggest debate in the Mexican press relates to whether Sihna or Pavel Pardo should also be included in the roster. I do not favor that train of thought. Sihna is playing well but with Cuauhtemoc Blanco already filling the role of "creative midfielder/forward" I believe Sihna would be overkill. I think Aguirre will more than likely play modern futbol, i.e. team concept less focused on one play maker and more on team speed in the attack, leaving Blanco to play more of a substitute role should the game be in a locked situation. Blanco and Sihna are similiar players and I do not see Sihna sneaking into that spot. Pardo on the other hand is just plain old and slow. His touch remains on free kicks but the tenacity that followed him lacks. If any player has a chance to oust Jonathon Dos Santos I believe Patricio Araujo has the best possibility. Also, many of the forwards have played in the outside wing positions so don't think that Aguirre would hestitate to place a Vela or Gio on the outside wings increasing the attack.
Forwards: Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Carlos Vela, Giovani Dos Santos, Guillermo Franco, Chicharito Hernandez, Nery Castillo
When the list comes out and Nerry Castillo appears on that list expect complete revolution by the Mexican Press. Yes, Castillo has not played a meaningful game since 2007. Yes, Castillo is currently not even in the game roster for his team. Yes, Castillo has played horrible for Mexico and cannot control his temper. However, I firmly believe that Aguirre will play his cards with Castillo for two reasons. First, Franco is the undisputed starter for Aguirre and El Chicharito holds the number two role so Castillo's role is purely substitutional. Second, I think Aguirre is betting on having Castillo in his camp the entire 60 day train up and believes this will give him enough time to get Castillo back in significantly better form. Aguirre probably also believes, like I do, that a Castillo at 70% is better than a Miguel Sabah or Bofo Bautista at 100 percent
Joel Aceves' Roster
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa, Luis Michel, Jose de Jesus Corona
This has to be one of the most evenly matched challenges for the goal keeping spot the national team has seen in a long time. While Ochoa is highly regarded as the best Mexican keeper he has yet to show that he is head over heels above his competition. I would be comfortable with either keeper guarding the net during the World Cup.
Defenders: Rafael Marquez, Ricardo Osorio, Carlos Salcido, Francisco Rodriguez, Hector Moreno, Efrain Juarez, Johnny Magallon
The first three defenders on my list all have World Cup experience which will help cement a strong back line. Francisco Rodriguez (6’3) and Hector Moreno (6’1) are the most physically imposing of the defenders which will come in handy considering the group Mexico is in. Juarez brings speed while Magallon is more than capable of covering for Salcido.
Midfielders: Andres Guardado, Israel Castro, Gerardo Torrado, Jonathan Dos Santos, Giovani Dos Santos, Pablo Barrera, Daniel Luduena
The midfield is basically the same as the one that Javier Aguirre has been using during World Cup qualifying and friendly matches. The only “Surprise” is the addition of Daniel Luduena who I feel can be an Ace in Mexico’s sleeve. With Mexico’s offense expected to run down the wings a player of Luduena’s qualities, that can cause havoc down the middle, can only make things more interesting.
Strikers: Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Guillermo Franco, Adolfo Bautista, Nery Castillo, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Vela
I sacrificed one defender for another striker because I truly believe that the best defense is a good offense. In that sense I brought in Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista who is capable of playing in either Temoc’s or Franco’s spots. I also took a chance and added Nery “the unholy unibrow from hell” Castillo as he remains a Wild Card in Mexico’s hopes for a fifth World Cup game or beyond. Castillo can just as easily self destruct as he can create a wonder goal and make the highlight reels.
Luis Bueno's Roster
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa, Luis Ernesto Michel, Jesus Corona.
Corona hasn't been called on recently and his head may not be where it needs to be, but he has experience backing up 'keepers at top tournaments. He would raise the level of competition higher than others, which could help Ochoa get his own head on straight.
Defenders: Rafael Marquez, Carlos Salcido, Ricardo Osorio, Francisco Rodriguez, Hector Moreno, Efrain Juarez, Jonny Magallon, Paul Aguilar, Jose Antonio Castro.
The team's strength, hands down. Mexico have depth across the backline as some talented defenders won't be able to crack this unit. Juarez should start, but Castro could replace him on the right and the Pumas man could slide into the midfield if need be.
Midfielders: Gerardo Torrado, Israel Castro, Andres Guardado, Pablo Barrera, Braulio Luna.
Sorry, but I just wasn't impressed with Jonathan Dos Santos. I still don't think you can burn a spot on a player who you expect great things from in the future. Barrera is in fine form and if he can maintain that, he will be a dangerous player. Castro and Torrado are the central midfield pairing that is best for Mexico.
Forwards: Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Giovani Dos Santos, Carlos Vela, Javier Hernandez, Guillermo Franco, Miguel Sabah.
Franco scored too many clutch goals to have lost his spot on the team. He might not start but should be available to Aguirre. Vela and Hernandez could make a strong strike force if Blanco and Gio are dropped a bit back, or the formation shifts to a three-strike attack. Sabah is a scrappy player who could provide some late, off-the-bench heroics. It's not like he didn't do that once before, right?
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