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Jun 28, 2014

Herrera dreamed about playing seven games

ESPN FC's John Sutcliffe says Carlos Salcido will replace suspended midfielder Jose Juan Vazquez, and Javier Hernandez will come off the bench against the Netherlands in hopes of providing the needed spark, as he did against Croatia.

FORTALEZA, Brazil - Mexico will make its first change to the starting XI when they face Holland on Sunday in the Castelao Stadium.

Guillermo Ochoa as keeper; the three in the center: Rafa Marquez, Francisco Javier Maza Rodríguez, Hector Moreno; Miguel Layun on the left, Paul Aguilar on the right; Carlos Salcido will take the place of the suspended Juan Jose Vazquez and the rest will be the same, Andres Guardado on the left, Hector Herrera on the right; and Giovani dos Santos and Oribe Peralta as strikers.

Miguel Herrera has become an international phenomenon because of his way of celebrating. According to the Femexfut social media people, since June 13, after the game against Brazil, the Mexican national team's coach has gained around 300,000 followers on Twitter.

It makes me so glad to see Miguel continue to be himself. I have been covering the "Tricolor" since the Korea/Japan World Cup in 2002, and the coaches begin to transform under the pressure, the vested interests, the blame and the snobbery imposed by the true owners of the team, which suddenly command them to "jump," "talk," "don't do that," etc.

I have seen nothing of the sort from Miguel Herrera. He continues to be straightforward, honest and deserving of praise. And yes, he has been very charismatic and has become famous worldwide, but tactically he has made the group work well. With less than three weeks to work with, he has gained their trust to the extent that they would do anything for him, something the three previous coaches could not do.

I can tell you that the players are rubbing their hands together at the thought of defeating Holland and advancing to the coveted fifth game.

When I interviewed Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez in English for ESPN, he was very frank and told me that he wanted to go down in history with this team, that they wanted this challenge.

Carlos Salcido replacing Juan Jose "Gallito" Vazquez will definitely be a big help, mostly because of his experience in Europe and more specifically in Holland.

Carlos Salcido, who played in the Dutch Eredivisie, gets the starting nod due to Juan Vazquez's yellow cards.

It's true that taking on Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and the rest is no easy task, but at the same time, it is exactly what the team wants.

We will see if Javier Hernandez will have more playing time. Giovani must be more consistent; Guillermo Ochoa, who has played incredibly in goal, will definitely be put to the test, just as he was in the game against Brazil.

So many fans have come to support the team, many of them Mexicans who live in the United States, paying $15,000 for three games -- not an easy sacrifice.

Word from inside the team is that this reminds some team members of their journey to Olympic gold in London. Let's hope the results are the same.

I commend the coach. I'll take this opportunity to say to Miguel Herrera: Thank you for being authentic! Thank you for not changing!

Before travelling to Brazil, Miguel told me that he dreamed about playing seven games. When I asked him how the dream was going he replied that it was going well, that it was coming true each day.

John Sutcliffe

John Sutcliffe, based in Mexico City, is a ESPN International and ESPN Deportes reporter who covers mainly Mexico national team as well as Monday Night Football and PGA golf majors. Follow him on Twitter @espnsutcliffe