Three Lions will play their first warm-up match against El Tricolor.Who: England vs. Mexico
What: International Friendly
When: Monday, 3 p.m. ET
Where: Wembley Stadium, London
TV: FSC. Telemundo
England host Mexico at Wembley Stadium on Monday evening with a number of players keen to impress manager Fabio Capello as he looks to name his 23-man squad ahead of the World Cup.
The former Real Madrid boss has a number of selection dilemmas for his side’s first warm-up match before they head to South Africa, most notably in goal. David James has been given extra time to recover from last week’s FA Cup final, so Robert Green and Joe Hart are likely to play 45 minutes each, while defence remains an issue for Capello too.
Jamie Carragher has been brought out of international retirement to be named in the 30-man provisional squad, and Ledley King has also been recalled to the squad despite not playing for his country since 2007. The duo will be looking to impress Capello in the two warm-up matches before the World Cup, as will captain Rio Ferdinand and Glen Johnson, who have both had injury-hit seasons.
The Chelsea quartet of John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole will all miss the friendly with Mexico after featuring in the FA Cup final and that could mean Capello is set to experiment with a new formation. There have been reports the Italian could ditch his 4-4-2 formation in favour of a 4-4-1-1 formation in an attempt to get the best out of Steven Gerrard playing just behind Wayne Rooney in attack.
Results leading up to the World Cup have been impressive for England, with nine wins out of ten qualifying matches, including 4-1 and 5-1 wins over Croatia. A 3-1 victory against Egypt in their last match proved a tough test until Peter Crouch came off the bench to grab a brace and he will hope to have done enough to cement his place in the starting line-up, with Emile Heskey, Jermain Defoe and Darren Bent also battling to partner Wayne Rooney up front if Capello decides to stick with his trusted 4-4-2.
Sven-Goran Eriksson took over as Mexico manager following Hugo Sanchez’s sacking in 2008, but after a string of poor results - which saw them drop out of the automatic qualifying places - he was sacked. Javier Aguirre was then re-appointed national team boss in April 2009.
Aguirre’s reign did not start well, losing 2-1 against El Salvador, but he has since led his side to the World Cup comfortably - as well as winning the 2009 Gold Cup - and while some have doubted Mexico’s credentials in the past, they have every chance of progressing to the second round in a group consisting of South Africa, Uruguay and France.
Mexico have a chance to make the first big impression at the World Cup, playing hosts South Africa in the opening game on June 11, and with a number of friendly matches under their belt already, Javier Aguirre’s men will be one of the favourites to progress to the second round from Group A.
The former Atletico Madrid manager has guided his side to three successive wins in the past couple of weeks. After a goalless draw with Ecuador, Alberto Medina scored the only goal of the game against Senegal in Chicago before Andres Guardado netted in a 1-0 win over Angola to round off their three-match tour of America with a victory. Medina then scored again in a 1-0 win over Chile last week which means they have gone five matches without conceding.
03 Mar: England 3-1 Egypt (Friendly)
14 Nov: Brazil 1-0 England (Friendly)
14 Oct: England 3-0 Belarus (World Cup qualifier)
10 Oct: Ukraine 1-0 England (World Cup qualifier)
09 Sep: England 5-1 Croatia (World Cup qualifier)
16 May: Mexico 1-0 Chile (Friendly)
13 May: Mexico 1-0 Angola (Friendly)
10 May: Mexico 1-0 Senegal (Friendly)
07 May: Mexico 0-0 Ecuador (Friendly)
24 Mar: Mexico 0-0 Iceland (Friendly)
Gareth Barry is England’s only injured absentee with an ankle problem and while he is certainly missing for the two warm-up matches, he will need to prove his fitness to make Capello’s 23-man squad.
Chelsea and Portsmouth players have been given extra time to recover from last week’s FA Cup final, so Capello will experiment in his side’s penultimate game before the World Cup.
Possible starting line-up: Green; Johnson, Ferdinand, Upson, Baines; Walcott, Gerrard, Carrick, Milner; Heskey, Rooney.
Javier Aguirre has rotated his squad in recent friendlies, so Carlos Vela, Giovani dos Santos and Guillermo Franco will all hope to force their way back into the starting line-up.
Manchester United-bound Javier Hernandez looks likely to retain his place in attack alongside Cuauhtémoc Blanco, who could skipper the side.
Possible starting line-up: Ochoa; Aguilar, Osorio, Rodriguez, Salcido; Juarez, Torrado, Guardado; Medina, Blanco, Hernandez.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The main man for England will undoubtedly be Wayne Rooney. The Manchester United striker has netted 34 times in 44 games for his club this season and not only has he been the Red Devils’ best player, but he was England’s top scorer in qualifying, finishing second in the European qualifying goalscoring charts with nine goals.
Javier Hernandez has agreed a reported £10 million move to Manchester United after the World Cup and all eyes will be on the Red Devils’ latest signing on Monday. The 21-year-old Guadalajara striker has scored four goals for his country since making his debut last year and he will be the man to provide a threat to England’s back four.
England are yet to slip up at home to what would be seen as weaker opposition under Fabio Capello - with the Czech Republic being the only side to prevent England from winning at Wembley - and there is no reason why their impressive home form should change. Although there are bound to be a number of substitutions in the second half, I can see England proving too strong for Javier Aguirre’s men.
England 3-1 Mexico
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For more coverage of the Mexican national team, visit Goal.com's Mexico page.