The Pumas UNAM central midfielder had his first taste of international football under Hugo Sanchez in 2007. He fell out of the picture under Sven-Goran Eriksson only to return to the Tricolor squad under present coach Javier Aguirre, who has made him a regular feature of his Mexico sides.
Israel Castro has several notable virtues. He is a great athlete, ensuring he is well equipped for the solid defensive work he carries out in the middle of the park. He also has a fearsome long-range shot, as Mexico fans will happily testify having seen him score one of the country's most important goals in qualifying - the equaliser in the 2-1 home win over the United States that booked their ticket to South Africa last August.
Castro started out as a right-back and shone in that position in the Pumas side that won consecutive championships in 2004. After a period alternating between defensive and midfield roles, he bedded down as a central midfielder in 2007 and it is in this position that he has flourished under Aguirre. Castro's extra-curricular interests mark him out as a fairly untypical footballer: he is an avid reader and lover of painting and the arts.