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Hernandez: Mexicans performing abroad

Mexico Jul 22, 2014
Read

Mexico: New beginnings

Team Assessment Jul 1, 2014
Read

El Tri have come a long way

Mexico Jul 1, 2014
Read

Five Aside: Round of 16 records fall

Five Aside Jun 29, 2014
Read
Jun 10, 2014

Mexico's World Cup depth chart set

What players will be healthy and what players will start in the World Cup?

GUADALAJARA -- Mexico's starting XI at the World Cup appears set, with ESPN and the majority of the Mexican press reporting the same team for Friday's match against Cameroon.

There is still time for manager Miguel Herrera -- who is notoriously open with the press -- to change his mind, but the big stories are:

• Guillermo Ochoa in goal ahead of Jesus Corona

• Francisco Rodriguez in for Diego Reyes

• Andres Guardado featuring in a central midfield role

 • Javier Hernandez losing out to Giovani Dos Santos up front

What follows is a look at Herrera's options in each position at the World Cup, in line with the manager's 5-3-2 formation and the predicted starting lineup:

Guillermo Ochoa has been Mexico's backup goalkeeper at the previous two World Cups.
Guillermo Ochoa will be trusted to duplicate his strong play for his club in France.

Goalkeeper

1. Guillermo Ochoa
2. Jesus Corona
3. Alfredo Talavera

The Ajaccio keeper, who will be on the move this summer, finally gets a World Cup start, having edged out Corona because of his greater shot-stopping ability.

At some point in Brazil, a match-winning performance will be required and Ochoa has shown himself capable with some fine displays against Ligue 1's best sides.

Corona will consider himself unlucky to miss out after captaining Mexico to Olympic gold, with Talavera relegated into third following a shaky performance against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Mexico's penultimate warm-up match.

Center-back left

1. Hector Moreno
2. Carlos Salcido
3. Diego Reyes

Espanyol defender Moreno is in his prime and locked into the starting XI, with no real chance of anyone surpassing him, even if he does have a disastrous game or two.

In case of injury, the naturally left-footed Salcido would be the prime candidate to step up, but if that means pairing the former Fulham defender with fellow veterans Rodriguez and Rafa Marquez, Herrera could well opt for Reyes.

Center-back libero

1. Rafa Marquez
2. Carlos Salcido
3. Diego Reyes

Marquez may be 35, but he's a central figure in Herrera's side and dictates the rhythm and tempo even from a defensive position. However, his lack of pace is an issue.

Herrera tended toward Salcido in the central role when Marquez didn't feature during the preparation matches, though Reyes is the former Barcelona player's natural heir in the position moving forward.

Center-back right

1. Francisco Rodriguez
2. Diego Reyes
3. Carlos Salcido

Rodriguez has edged out Reyes for the Cameroon game because of his better physical presence, although that could change as the tournament progresses.

"Maza" hadn't been in great form for Club America during 2014, but he earned his spot after some impressively solid performances in the warm-up games.

Of all the Mexican players, Miguel Layun has the greatest chance to break out into stardom.

Left wing-back

1. Miguel Layun
2. Andres Guardado
3. Miguel Ponce

Club America's Layun is one Mexican who could catch the eye of one or two European scouts at the World Cup, and the left wing-back role suits him perfectly. He's not really a natural full-back or winger.

The same could be argued for Guardado, who is likely just ahead of Ponce in case Layun is injured or moves to a right wing-back position for any reason.

Right wing-back

1. Paul Aguilar
2. Miguel Layun
3. Javier Aquino

Coach Herrera joked in one recent interview that Aguilar was a certain starter because he is the only right wing-back Mexico has in their squad and he is pretty much correct.

Two-footed Layun could fill in there, but El Tri don't really have many other options on the right flank.

Defensive midfield

1. Jose Juan Vazquez
2. Hector Herrera
3. Carlos Salcido

This is another area where Mexico are struggling heading into the World Cup. Vazquez is the only player El Tri has in their squad who plays the position week in, week out for his club side.

The problem is Vazquez is on the light side, while Salcido isn't mobile enough to play there at a high level and Herrera is inexperienced in the role.

Attacking midfield left

1. Andres Guardado
2. Marco Fabian
3. Carlos Pena

Valencia's Guardado is an unlikely choice, but the two World Cup veteran has clearly impressed Herrera during training and has been decent in the friendlies.

Fabian will likely be used off the bench in case Mexico need a goal, while Pena has fallen down the chart after some lackluster displays recently.

Attacking midfield right

1. Hector Herrera
2. Isaac Brizuela
3. Javier Aquino

Like Layun, Herrera has the quality to break out at this World Cup in a major way and is a key figure for Mexico.

Brizuela and Aquino are very much back-up options, with the strong possibility that Fabian and/or Pena would be ahead of them if Herrera were out for any reason.

Mexico hopes to strike gold again with Olympic heroes Oribe Peralta and Giovani Dos Santos up top in attack.
Oribe Peralta and Giovani dos Santos get the nod up front over Javier Hernandez.

Second striker

1. Giovani Dos Santos
2. Javier Hernandez
3. Alan Pulido

A major doubt even ahead of the squad announcement, Dos Santos has -- like Guardado -- done enough to push his way through to the front of the line for a starting spot.

A more natural foil for Oribe Peralta than Chicharito, Dos Santos is coming in off the back of a good season for Villarreal.

Alan Pulido and Raul Jimenez could also be options, but distant ones at the moment.

Striker

1. Oribe Peralta
2. Javier Hernandez
3. Raul Jimenez

Peralta is Herrera's main striker and the manager has consistently praised the recent Club America signing, from even before he took charge of the national team.

The 30-year-old doesn't come into Brazil 2014 in the best of form, having failed to score for the national team since January, but Mexico will be hoping for the same kind of heroics from Peralta that helped El Tri defeat Brazil in the Olympic final in London two years ago.

Predicted starting XI vs. Cameroon (5-3-2)

Guillermo Ochoa
Maza Rodriguez, Rafa Marquez, Hector Moreno, Paul Aguilar, Miguel Layun
Jose Juan Vazquez, Hector Herrera, Andres Guardado
Giovani Dos Santos, Oribe Peralta

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