To prepare you for the tournament, The18 has launched team-by-team previews for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Here’s the Mexico World Cup preview. El Tri will play in Group C against Argentina, Poland and Saudi Arabia.
Mexico World Cup Preview 2022
World Cup appearances: 17th
Best binish: Quarterfinals (1970, 1986)
How they got here: Mexico qualified directly as Concacaf’s second-place finisher, behind Canada and ahead of the United States.
Coach: Gerardo “Tata” Martino (Argentine)
Strongest XI: (4-3-3) Guillermo Ochoa; Jesús Gallardo, Héctor Moreno, César Montes, Jorge Sánchez; Andres Guardado, Hector Herrera, Edson Álvarez; Alexis Vega, Raúl Jiménez*, Hirving Lozano
*Jiménez is questionable for the World Cup with a serious groin injury
What’s to like: Mexico enters Qatar with one of the most experienced squads. Ochoa always goes up another gear for the World Cup and the Great Wall of Mexico will likely do it again at his fifth trip to the big tournament.
Guardado will also be playing in his fifth World Cup. Nearly every player in the strongest starting XI has World Cup experience under their belt with a majority having played in multiple World Cups. There’s a hefty veteran presence.
What’s not to like: Just about everything else. Most Mexican fans would agree that this is one of the weakest El Tri sides in a long time. The team hasn’t won a trophy since the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, the longest trophy drought in 15 years for Mexico.
While experience is certainly helpful, Mexico’s team is simply ageing without a lot of reliable replacements coming in. The average age of the strongest XI is roughly 29.5 years old.
Injuries to Jesús Corona and Jiménez make an already weak Mexico team even less of a threat. At times Tata’s Mexico team seems sluggish and short on ideas. A feisty World Cup group with the likes of Argentina, Poland and Saudi Arabia could make this a short World Cup for Mexico.
X-Factor: Sigh, this is usually where Chicharito’s name would go.
Mexico needs a new X-factor and the most likely candidate is none other than “Chucky.” Fans will want to see a repeat of Lozano’s heroics vs. Germany from the 2018 World Cup.
Best Hair: Guillermo Ochoa
Most likely to fuck it all up: If Néstor Araújo makes an appearance for El Tri in Qatar there’s a great chance he’ll find a way to botch something.
What will make this a good World Cup: A trip to the quarterfinals.
Bonus prediction: Tata Martino is fired before Mexico’s flight back from Qatar touches the ground.