Miguel Herrera highlights Rafa Marquez influence, names starting XI

The Mexico manager has hailed the impact of the former Barcelona star as a leader for his team.

MEXICO CITY - With two Champions League trophies and four La Liga titles under his belt, Mexico coach Miguel Herrera was effusive in his praise of Rafa Marquez ahead of Wednesday’s pressure World Cup playoff first leg against New Zealand, highlighting the influence he has on El Tri.

“The communication with Rafa has been extraordinary, he’s a natural leader,” stated Herrera in Tuesday’s press conference. “He’s a guy that talks on the field, leads and shouts at the right time.”

The Mexico coach, who dismissed talk that Mexico is a hostile place to visit by saying the country is “super cool,” added that Francisco “Maza” Rodriguez is also a key figure of influence along with central midfielder Juan Carlos Medina.

Herrera also stuck to his usual approach of naming which players will start the day before the game, confirming that Moises Munoz gets the nod in goal, while Raul Jimenez will accompany Oribe Peralta upfront.

“Raul adds a little bit more mobility,” said Herrera.

The Mexico team, playing a 5-3-2 formation, will be: Munoz, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Marquez, Rodriguez, Miguel Layun, Paul Aguilar, Medina, Luis Montes, Carlos Pena, Peralta and Jimenez.

The press conference started out with Herrera declaring that he is sure Mexico will win the game and adding that what has happened in World Cup qualifying to this point needs to be forgotten.

“You can’t fix what has already happened,” Herrera said. “The rules still say we can go to the World Cup.”

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