Mexico national team predictions for 2018

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There's no crystal ball, but Goal makes a few bold statements - or at least educated guesses - about what El Tri will experience in the new year

  1. Chicharito gets back on track at West Ham

    Mexico's all-time leading scorer is once again trying to convince manager David Moyes that he deserves Premier League minutes - a sentence he surely hoped to leave in 2014. Instead, after a move from Bayer Leverkusen to West Ham and a coaching change after the Hammers struggled early, Hernandez once again finds himself trying to win a spot. The difference is that this time the competition isn't as strong. Yes, Marko Arnautovic has emerged as an option and Andy Carroll is good for a few goals, but look for Chicharito to win back a starting spot as West Ham struggles to find the back of the net. That should see him roll into the World Cup in good form.
  2. Jonathan Gonzalez will make a late push for the World Cup squad

    The soon-to-be-Mexico-eligible midfielder is in no way a shoo-in for the 2018 World Cup roster. That said, it's unlikely he would've made a decision to file a one-time switch now without thinking there's at least some chance to break into El Tri's squad for Russia. Our prediction is not fearless - it's not that Gonzalez will make the roster, but by playing for El Tri against Bosnia in late January and playing a position where Mexico is not deep, he will be given an opportunity to convince Juan Carlos Osorio and the coaching staff that he should be on the plane.
  3. One ‘Angeleno’ misses the cut in the surprise of the roster

    Carlos Vela has completed a trio in some ways, becoming the third Mexican international to play in the Los Angeles region as he joins up with LAFC from Real Sociedad. The Dos Santos brothers already are calling Southern California home where they play with the Galaxy. Could one or more of them end up staying and soaking up the sun instead of taking off for Moscow? With Marco Fabian set to return to match fitness, Gio's position on the final roster seems the most precarious, Jona's the least, but any of the three may falter in the short window they have to convince Osorio.
  4. No more than one domestic-based player will start World Cup matches

    ...and that's a good thing. Take a look at Mexico's likely starting XIs in Russia and you'll see nearly all Europe-based players with a potential inclusion of a Dos Santos brother or Carlos Vela in MLS. From Liga MX? Nestor Araujo looks like a good bet to stay with Santos Laguna and compete for starting minutes. Tigres winger Javier Aquino could get on the field from the opening whistle. But expect to see only one in each game. It won't be a policy or anything, it just shows the success Mexico has had in exporting talent lately.
  5. The fifth game quest will continue

    Sorry. Mexico will get out of the group by beating Sweden and South Korea but Germany's strength will force El Tri through as the second-place team. The dreaded match against Brazil will come to pass as the Selecao see off their rivals to win Group E. The round of 16 contest in Samara will go down sort of like Mexico and Brazil's meeting in 2014, with Guillermo Ochoa coming up huge but El Tri ultimately falling short in extra time.
  6. Juan Carlos Osorio will be gone by August - no matter what happens at the World Cup

    One way or another, Juan Carlos Osorio will be in a different role after the World Cup. Think about it. He could take Mexico to new heights, earn acclaim on a worldwide stage and move on to a good club job in Europe. Or he could be unable to get the best out of Mexico in which case a frustrated Mexican federation gives him his marching orders and he looks for work at a smaller European team or in the Americas. Whatever the result, Osorio won't be back - even as some of his former critics begin to talk about trying to lock him down through 2022.
  7. Edson Alvarez is the next national team player to move across the Atlantic

    The smart money has been on Nestor Araujo for a while, but the center back insists his future is still with Santos Laguna. Alvarez will be 20 at this summer's tournament and could see time as a right back, a center back or in the midfield. The Club America product's versatility is an asset, and he has the skills to edge his way onto the field for Mexico. That should be enough to turn the head of a European team who will buy Alvarez from Las Aguilas after the tournament.
  8. Hirving Lozano transfers to Spain, not England

    Arsenal? Liverpool? Everton? No, instead look to La Liga for the next landing spot for "El Chucky". He's struggled at big tournaments before, but the experiences have made him into a better player. He's the leading scorer in the Eredivisie at the winter break and has been just as important for the national team as he has for PSV over the last six months. Will it be Lozano's dream of playing alongside Lionel Messi? Will Real Madrid swoop in? One of the contenders just outside the big two? We're not guessing, but La Liga fits Lozano's game better than the Premier League would, and he would be more comfortable off the field in Spain.
  9. Rafa Marquez retires with send-off game after missing World Cup roster

    Rafa Marquez is back on the field with Atlas, but a recall to the Mexico national team may not be possible as long as Marquez is not allowed in the United States. His designation by the U.S. Treasury Department as a frontman for a cartel precipitated his departure from the national team. Even if he becomes eligible, though, is Marquez a must-have player for Mexico in Russia? Others have surpassed him on the field and Andres Guardado can serve the 'veteran leader who has been here before' position. It would be a sad end to a glorious career, but it's tough to see Marquez making the squad at this point. A final game in the Azteca giving Marquez a deserving send-off before he begins post-soccer life would be perfect for the fall or winter.