Mexico has their World Cup roster. Manager Miguel Herrera named his 23-man squad for Brazil on Friday, setting the stage for training camp, which will begin May 12, and the opportunity to end a roller coaster World Cup cycle with a strong showing in Brazil.
As expected, the team is Liga MX heavy, with just seven players coming from other leagues. Herrera, who used to manage Club America and has relied heavily on his former players since taking the job in October, picked five players from Las Aguilas, as well as four from Leon.
Giovani dos Santos made the squad, with Herrera banking on him being able to find his international form before Brazil. His inclusion helped keep Javier Aquino off of the team as the squad's biggest omission. Miguel Ponce, Rogelio Chavez, Juan Carlos Venezuela and Enrique Perez were the other players in contention who just missed out, although any injuries in training camp could force one of those players onto the team.
The defense is as expected, with Rafael Marquez set to captain his country in a record fourth World Cup. He'll be accompanied by fellow veteran Maza Rodriguez, while Hector Moreno and Diego Reyes are two of the European based players to make the squad. Paul Aguilar, Andres Guardado and Miguel Layun give Herrera options at wingback, while Carlos Salcido is a bubble player who was included in the team, likely because his versatility allowed Herrera to call in an extra striker.
In the midfield, there were no major surprises. The players who Herrera has leaned on since taking the job are all there in Luis Montes, Carlos Pena, Juan Carlos Medina and Isaac Brizuela. Hector Herrera has played well for Porto to earn his place and Jose Juan Vasquez is in good form, leaving Marco Fabian as the only selection in doubt, but his excellent play for Cruz Azul made it difficult for Herrera to leave him home.
Herrera has opted for five forwards, maybe one more than most expected. Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez is the big name, although his tough season for Manchester United and Oribe Peralta and Raul Jimenez's sparkling form could see Chicharito start on the bench if he doesn't impress in training camp. Alan Pulido's hat trick against South Korea in January, as well as his goal against the United States in April, probably secured his spot on the team, while dos Santos rounds out the forwards with a more creative, dynamic option.
Mexico opens the World Cup on June 13 against Cameroon in Natal. They are also grouped with Brazil and Croatia, making for a very difficult group and, if they do get out, they are likely looking at a Round of 16 matchup with Spain or the Netherlands, so this squad has an incredibly tough road ahead of them.
Defenders: Paul Aguilar, Andres Guardado, Miguel Layun, Rafael Marquez, Hector Moreno, Diego Reyes, Carlos Salcido, Francisco Javier "Maza" Rodriguez
Midfielders: Isaac Brizuela, Marco Fabian, Hector Herrera, Juan Carlos Medina, Luis Montes, Carlos Pena, Jose Juan Vazquez
Howards: Javier Hernandez, Raul Jimenez, Oribe Peralta, Alan Pulido, Giovani dos Santos