10 Mexico national team players who must impress this month to make the World Cup

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This could be it for several Mexico national team players.

Juan Carlos Osorio has called in 26 players to be part of his squad to face Iceland and Croatia in March friendly matches, but the Mexico manager says he already knows who will be on his list to go to the World Cup. We've seen over the past few years, though, that Osorio is now willing to have his mind changed. The players not currently on the list still could change his mind, while some of the players who may be set for the trip to Russia could need to shore up their spot.

Starting from most necessary to least, we've taken a look at the players who have to impress the Colombian coach and his staff this month to have any chance of fulfilling the dream of representing their country at the sport's biggest stage. 

  1. Getty

    Omar Govea

    Juan Carlos Osorio recently visited the 22-year-old in Belgium, where the midfielder plays for Royal Excel Mouscron. The San Luis Potosi native clearly is on the radar, but he's played just 16 minutes with El Tri. He needs to add to that total this month to have a chance at the final squad.
  2. Adam Hunger

    Jorge Hernandez

    "Burrito" played the second half of El Tri's game against Bosnia and Herzegovina in January, following up on a decent showing in the Gold Cup. After not being called in for a World Cup qualifier in his career, though, it's tough to imagine the 28-year-old will be at the World Cup finals without doing something extraordinary in the final tune-ups.
  3. Jonathan Gonzalez

    The 18-year-old midfielder has only suited up for Mexico once, but Osorio and his staff like what they've seen from Gonzalez. He still needs to work for his place on the roster, which the Mexican federation has taken great pains to note was not guaranteed in exchange for the California-born midfielder's decision to file a one-time switch after representing the U.S. at the youth level. Gonzalez is a talented player, but does he do enough to merit a spot in Russia? He'll have to prove it.
  4. USA Today Sports

    Edson Alvarez

    The 20-year-old defender only recently was back in the Club America starting lineup thanks to a mix of injury and suspension. His struggle for club minutes is a concern, but his versatility may outweigh those issues. Across an already thin back line, Alvarez's ability to come in as a right back, a center back or even play in the midfield is attractive to Osorio. Solid cameos in March may lock up a spot, though a poor performance could raise doubts.
  5. USA Today Sports

    Rodolfo Pizarro

    The Chivas attacker has been one of the few bright spots during his club's disappointing seasons the past several campaigns. It hasn't gone unnoticed, with European teams rumored to be interested in prying PIzarro from Chivas this summer. In the near term, though, he must convince Osorio that he deserves to be on the final list - likely at the expense of a much more experienced player like Giovani dos Santos or Marco Fabian. Pizarro has been good for El Tri but is yet to be tested at the highest level like he may be in these contests.
  6. Marco Fabian

    If he were fully fit, there's little doubt Fabian would be in the team. That's been a struggle lately, and even with Fabian recovered from back surgery, he's yet to prove himself. He's seen fewer than 90 total minutes since returning to the field with Eintracht Frankfurt on Feb. 4. If he can't win a place with his club, will he be able to do the job for Mexico
  7. Soobum Im

    Jesus Molina

    It looked like the Monterrey midfielder was out of the picture, but after seeing more minutes for Rayados in this tournament than the previous one he's back in the mix. Molina started against Bosnia and would give Osorio an option as a midfield destroyer, which he lacked in the Confederations Cup.
  8. YURI CORTEZ

    Oribe Peralta

    El Cepillo? El Hermoso? Peralta has more nicknames than he has major tournament appearances, even if he went to the 2014 World Cup and won gold at the 2012 Olympics before that. Could he really be on the fringe? Well, yes. Peralta isn't good enough to start over Chicharito or Raul Jimenez, and if you need a bench option there are more dynamic players in the pool. Between the experience and the ability to find the back of the net, it would be tough to leave him off the roster - tougher still if he can build his case with a goal against World Cup-caliber competition.
  9. Alejandro Gutierrez Mora

    Alfredo Talavera

    File this one in the "All But In" category. Tala is coming off a knee injury that kept him out of the entire Apertura and part of the Clausura. He's back on the field now for Toluca, but hasn't been at his pinnacle. He's still a goalkeeper Osorio likes and may get the nod against Iceland, as he's good in the air. He could lock down a spot on the roster with a reminder of how good he can be, putting worries at ease that the injury may have knocked him down a few pegs.
  10. Adam Nurkiewicz

    Jesus Gallardo

    Gallardo should feel pretty good about being on the plane. There's little left-back depth after the Pumas player. He also can come in as a winger, where he plays with his club. One more good performance at left back against a World Cup-bound team, like the one he delivered against Poland, should be more than enough to have his name on the roster in ink.