Mexico booked their place at the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 thanks to their 4-2 defeat of arch-rivals USA in a pulsating CONCACAF Gold Cup 2011 final. That victory capped a flawless tournament at which El Tri won all their games, culminating in the decider against the Stars and Stripes, when Mexico came from two goals down before making sure of the title with an unforgettable strike from Giovani dos Santos. The continental triumph sees the Mexicans back in a competition they won on home soil back in 1999.
The current crop
Expectations are high for the De la Torre era, with the fanatical Azteca fans sure to expect nothing but the best from the coach. Those in the know in Mexico have said that the current national team is the most talented in history, a suspicion backed up by the side’s recent run to their sixth CONCACAF Gold Cup title. Coming back from a 2-0 deficit to beat USA 4-2 in the final in Southern California is surely an apt example of just how dangerous this Mexico side can be.
De la Torre relies on a blend of big-name veterans such as Rafael Marquez, Carlos Salcido and Ricardo Osorio, as well as a host of members of Mexico’s youthful “Golden Generation”. The latter crop can now expect an ever-greater burden of responsibility on their shoulders, given that many ply their trade in Europe’s biggest leagues and boast FIFA World Cup experience from South Africa 2010.
The key players
There can be little doubt that Mexico’s current leading man is one of Planet Football’s hottest young goalgetters, Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, who has won legions of admirers thanks to his abundant charisma and a prolific first season at Manchester United and his top-scorer showing at the recently concluded Gold Cup. Throw in the quality of Giovani dos Santos, winger Andres Guardado, Hector Moreno, as well as the gifted youngsters striving to emerge in the always-demanding Mexican league, and you have a talent pool capable of giving El Tri fans plenty to cheer about ahead of Brazil 2014.
Coach: Jose Manuel de la Torre
Best performances in a FIFA competition: FIFA Confederations Cup Mexico 1999 (Winners), FIFA U-17 World Cup Peru 2005 (Winners)
Former stars: Hugo Sanchez, Jorge Campos, Cuauhtemoc Blanco