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#Brazinga2014: World Cup Team Profile - Mexico

Sunday, 29 June 2014 - 8:44pm IST | Place: undefined | Agency: AFP

Mexico had a good group stage phase. They were equal to group leaders Brazil on points, but finished second on goal difference. When Brazil faced Mexico in the group stages, Mexico showed the hosts what their potential is. Guillermo Ochoa was the hero of that match as he produced a number of spectacular saves and denied Brazil from scoring. After having a good group stage, they face Netherlands in the Round-of-16. It will be tough for the Mexicans as the Dutch won all of their group matches, which included 5-1 thrashing defeat of Spain in their opening match.

Country Profile:

Population:  118 million

Area:  1,958,201 km2

Capital:  Mexico

Currency:  Mexican peso

Federation:  Federacion Mexicana de Futbol, founded in 1927, affiliated to FIFA in 1929.

Registered players:  325,000

Colours:  Green shirts, white shorts, red socks.

World Cup appearances:  15 (1930, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1978, 1986, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014).

World Cup record:  Quarter-finalists (1970, 1986), second round (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010), first round (1930, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1978).

Gold Cup:  Winner (1965, 1971, 1977, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2009, 2011), finalist (1967, 2007), 3rd place (1973, 1981, 1991), semi-finalist (2013), 4th place (1969).

Copa America:  Finalist (1993, 2001), 3rd place (1997, 1999, 2007).

How they qualified:  Came 4th in the CONCACAF final qualifying group with 11pts behind the United States 22, Costa Rica 18, Honduras 15 and ahead of Panama 8 and Jamaica 5, with 3 wins, 3 draws, 2 defeats, 7 goals for and 9 against. Then beat New Zealand 5-1 and 4-2 (9-3 agg) in the play-offs.

Top clubs:  America, Cruz Azul, Guadalajara, Pumas.

Key players:  Rafael Marquez, Guillermo Ochoa, Giovani dos Santos, Javier Hernandez, Oribe Peralta.

Coach:  Miguel Herrera (since October 2013)

Previous coach De la Torre had, to his credit, put Mexico back on track after their last 16 elimination at the hands of Argentina during the 2010 World Cup. After that, however, Mexico went all wobbly in the final group phase where their team spirit went west and their wing play which had been excellent up until then, fell flat. They suffered  home draws against Jamaica, Costa Rica and a home defeat to Honduras at the Aztec Stadium.

This dreadful slog through the final group cost the job of three coaches as De la Torre, Luis Fernando Tena (1 match) and Victor Manuel Vucetich (2 matches). Herrera stepped in after winning a second straight championship with America and Mexico should be a much more serious bet for the World Cup, where they have been drawn with the hosts Brazil, Croatia and Cameroon. This is a trickier group thank it may seem, but Mexico will be confident of making through to the last-16, as they have done at the last five World Cups. And if the Aztecs make it to the quarters, as they did in 1970 and 1986, then Miguel 'El Piojo' will be the hero of an unlikely comeback this time around at Brazil.

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