World Cup 2014 Team-by-Team Guide: Mexico for Second Round
Past tournaments: 1930, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1978, 1986, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014
Previous Best: Quarter Finals – Mexico 1970, Mexico 1986
How they got here: Mexico made a real mess of qualification, picking up just two wins from 10 matches in the six-team group stage and in truth owe qualification to Team USA, who scored two late goals against Panama to deny the minnows a play-off place at the expense of La Verde. Mexico eased through the two-legged affair against a poor New Zealand though, winning 9-3 on aggregate.
Star man: Javier Hernandez (Manchester United)
One of the few players to deliver consistently for Mexico over the past four years, the Red Devils striker has notched up an impressive 35 goals in 58 appearances for the national side and will be key to their chances of getting out the group.
Officially the fastest player at the 2010 World Cup, where he netted twice against France and Argentina, Chicarito is also good in the air and may use this tournament as an opportunity to showcase his talents ahead of a potential move away from Old Trafford.
Under the radar: Giovani Dos Santos (Villarreal)
He may have failed to make the grade at Tottenham Hotspur, but Giovani Dos Santos is now finally beginning to live up to much of the hype that surrounded him as a youngster at Barcelona.
The 25-year-old has played an instrumental role in the resurrection of Villarreal, with the Yellow Submarine returning to La Liga this season and completing their comeback with qualification for the Europa League, thanks in no small part to his ten goals this term.
A tally of 11 goals for Mexico, including a memorable strike in Mexico’s memorable win over the USA in the 2011 Gold Cup, as well as numerous assists, meanwhile, set him out as one of El Tricolor’s main creators-in-chief.
Team nutcase: Carlos Salcido (UANL)
Salcido was one of the ringleaders in the infamous call girls scandal that engulfed the Mexico team back in 2010 when he and Carlos Vela reportedly hired 14 ‘women of the night’ for a post-match celebration.
Salcido was also forced to refute rumours linking him to a transvestite called Gema, after pictures of the pair surfaced online.
While Vela was omitted from this squad for his wayward behaviour, Salcido has remained, though as fans of former club Fulham will tell you, the defender has been known to make the occasional gaffe, often followed by a rash tackle here and there.
How far can they go?
The Brazilian climate favours Mexico, who have competed in the Copa America in previous years, and if they pull together then a runners-up place should be theirs with Cameroon failing to reach the knockout stages in any of their four World Cup finals and Croatia making hard work of an easy qualification group.
But that could well be it for the Central American outfit, given that Mexico have exited the last four World Cups in the Second Round and will most likely meet the winners of a group containing Holland, Spain and Chile.