FIFA Confederations Cup history
Mexico are no strangers to the Festival of Champions, having appeared at six of the competition’s nine editions to date, a distinction they share with Brazil. Los Aztecas made their Confederations Cup debut at Saudi Arabia 1995, finishing in an eminently respectable third place courtesy of a penalty shootout defeat of Nigeria. Their greatest achievement came in hosting the competition four years later, when a side led by the indefatigable Cuauhtemoc Blanco beat a Brazil team containing the fast-emerging Ronaldinho 4-3 in the final at the Estadio Azteca. The Mexicans went on to claim fourth at Germany 2005, where they suffered an extra-time defeat to the hosts in the match for third place, while their Brazil 2013 campaign came to a premature end in the group phase.

The road to Russia 2017
Knocked out in the semi-finals of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, a tournament won by their arch rivals USA, Mexico went into the 2015 continental finals determined to regain the title and with it a place in the Russia 2017 play-off against the Stars and Stripes. After defeating Cuba 6-0 in their opening group game, El Tri moved into in quarter-finals with respective 0-0 and 4-4 draws with Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago. A 1-0 victory over Costa Rica ensued, followed by a 2-1 semi-final win against Panama. The regional title was then secured with a 3-1 final triumph versus Jamaica, which took the Mexicans forward to the play-off against their old foes, staged in California on 10 October, when Paul Aguilar’s extra-time goal gave the men in green a 3-2 win and the right to represent the CONCACAF Zone in Russia.

The coach
Following the departure of Miguel Herrera and Ricardo Ferretti’s spell as caretaker manager in 2015, the Tri job was entrusted to the Colombian Juan Carlos Osorio. Embarking on his coaching career in 2001 with a five-year stint as an assistant at Manchester City, Osorio then enjoyed a brief spell in charge with Millonarios back home before decamping to the USA. After taking up the reins at Chicago Fire he moved on for a two-season stay with New York Red Bulls, returning to his native Colombia in 2009 to coach Once Caldas and steering them to the Torneo Finalización title the following year. Then came a successful tenure at Atletico Nacional, where he oversaw six trophy wins between 2012 and 2015 and cemented his reputation as a meticulous tactician. The Mexico post is his first with a national team.

Key players
Guillermo Ochoa (goalkeeper), Hector Moreno (defender), Andres Guardado (midfielder), Carlos Vela (forward), Javier Hernandez (forward).

The stat
6 -
 the number of goals Tri captain Andres Guardado helped himself to in top-scoring for Mexico at the 2015 Gold Cup, quite an achievement for a midfielder.