The road to Canada
Mexico's ladies made heavy weather of securing their place. They kicked off the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship, which served as a qualifying tournament for the FIFA Women's World Cup™, by losing to eventual runners-up Costa Rica. Having recovered to get through their group, they were then beaten by USA (who would go on to lift the trophy) in the semi-finals, condemning them to scrap it out with Trinidad and Tobago for the third and final automatic qualification spot. Trailing 2-1 with just over ten minutes to go, they equalised and then Veronica Charlyn Corral popped up with an extra-time brace to seal victory and propel herself up to joint third in the competition's scoring charts with four goals.
Strengths and style
With no national league in place at home, Mexican women's football has necessarily had close ties with the country's northern neighbour over the years. Numerous Mexico players have either flocked to USA to earn their keep or indeed learned their trade there as a result of their families having emigrated. On top of that, coaches have often looked north to fish for fresh ideas and methods.
However, a conscientious effort to nurture Mexican women's youth football has borne fruit and 95 per cent of the current senior squad is made up of home-grown talent. Goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago is one notable example, as is forward Monica Ocampo, who will be familiar to fans who watched the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Russia 2006. Another to feature at that tournament was child prodigy Charlyn Corral, who got her first senior call-up aged just 13 and now, ten years on, stands as an icon of the advancement of the local women's football scene.
While undoubted progress has been made in terms of style and technique, the biggest development has been on the fitness front. It remains to be seen, however, whether a squad embroiled in a changing of the guard will be solid enough to compete on the world stage.
Former Mexican international Leonardo Cuellar, who represented his country at the 1978 FIFA World Cup™ in Argentina, has been at the helm since 1998 and has played a key role in furthering the women's game in Mexico. He also oversees the youth teams, who have become fixtures at their respective World Cups and other international tournaments.
FIFA Women's World Cup record
- Canada 2015 will mark Mexico's third appearance at the tournament, having also competed at Germany 2011 and USA 1999
- While their debut outings on the world stage all ended in defeat, last time out Las Tri managed two draws (against England and New Zealand), although this wasn't enough to advance beyond the group stage
What they said
"We have a young squad who still need to mature in order to improve certain aspects of the game," Leonardo Cuellar, Mexico coach