Mexico, a glass ceiling to break

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It became a constant. Four years ago, in the trip to Russia, Mexico really stayed true to itself. A quietly conducted first round, including a victory over the German defending champion (1-0), then elimination in the round of 16. Like in 2014. And 2010. And 2006, 2002, 1998 and 1994. Thrown out by Brazil, the Habs therefore stumbled for the seventh time in a row at this stage of the competition.

A repeated glass ceiling that symbolizes the difficulties of Verde to perform in the World Cup. Invited to the planetary event for the seventeenth time in its history this fall, paradoxically Mexico has both the merit of being a true history of the competition but the disadvantage of never distinguishing itself there. Present since 1930 in Uruguay, the future host country (in the company of the United States and Canada in 2026) maintains for the best presentation of the quarter-finals in 1970 and 1986, at home.

Before surprising everyone in Qatar? Without a real star, former Barça coach Tata Martino’s team will rely on their collective to respond once it enters the race against Poland, the main contender for second place behind Argentina. A match that will dictate the path and the ambitions of Mexico in this tournament, before surely rubbing shoulders with Lionel Messi’s Albiceleste. The same Albiceleste that never failed to block the way to the Habs in 2006 and 2010. In the round of 16, of course

The star: Raúl Jiménez

Having been there in 2014 and 2018, the 31-year-old center forward is preparing to play in his third World Cup. But in Brazil as in Russia, Wolverhampton’s current serial killer has only the role of a substitute to put teeth on. Since then, the striker has gone through Atlético de Madrid and Benfica has asserted himself in the selection. It’s up to him to confirm his status during the competition, for the greater good of the Habs.

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The promise: Santiago Gimenez

Santiago GimenezPhoto credit – Icon Sport

The start of 2022 could be a turning point in the young centre-forward’s career. From the peak of his 21 years, the youngster born in Buenos Aires has really been chained to selection minutes, be it in friendlies or in the League of Nations. Already the author of two goals in a Verde jersey, the striker is making an impression just in time to join Martino’s list. See more?

Coach: Gerardo Martino

Third head experience of choice for Tata Martino. Before Mexico, Paraguay was the first to benefit from Argentinian expertise. Three Copa América finals (including two with the Albiceleste) and most importantly a quarter-final of the World Cup (in 2010 with Paraguay) must be credited to the Rosario native. A stage of competition that La Verde dreams of reaching. A goal that the ex-Barça coach has undoubtedly set himself.

The legend: Cuauhtemoc Blanco

One of the best Mexican footballers in history. In selection for twenty years, he contributed to the appearance of the Habs on the international scene from the 90s. The attacker also participated in three World Cups (1998, 2002 and 2010) and especially in the glorious Coupe of the 1999 Confederations. The one who made Club América’s heyday remarkable also finished top scorer in the competition with six goals.

The expert’s eye: Oscar Guzman (Fox Sports journalist)

“The Mexican team went through a three-and-a-half-year maturation process with Argentinian Tata Martino. At first, the team performed well, winning the 2019 Gold Cup, but then collapsed. After seven consecutive World Cup knockout stages, Tri is aiming for a quarter. We will need to solve our offensive problems, because despite Lozano, Jiménez and Tecatito, we have had a lot of scoring problems in the last 18 months. The positive thing is that our formation generally shows its best level when it is not favorite. »

to summarize

A true regular at the World Cup since its first edition in 1930, Mexico never really rose to prominence in the competition. The Central American selection has struggled a lot, since 1994, to go beyond the round of 16.

Florian Sermaise

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