Mexico’s first World Cup game of 2022: squad leader, full fixtures, group, which to watch, odds and more

World Cup regulars Mexico are back to score every four years at global men’s football’s flagship to end a frustrating run of last-16 eliminations.

This will be Mexico’s 17th appearance at a World Cup – only Brazil, Germany, Italy and Group C opponents Argentina have featured in more editions of the tournament – and the inevitability of their qualification seems only hinted at by losing the first knockout game surpassed stage. They’ve gone home in the round of 16 in each of the last seven tournaments.

Former Barcelona and Argentina coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino is the man charged with guiding El Tri to that elusive quarter-final in Qatar, but fans have a feeling this side may lack the quality of their predecessors and that elimination from the group stage may be more likely than a coveted place in the last eight.

Mexico have been plagued by a lack of goals – they scored just 17 in 14 qualifiers – despite a relatively easy passage to Qatar, second behind Canada in CONCACAF qualifiers, and a combination of injuries and a lack of form over the past 12 months for suspected striker Raul Jimenez of Wolves didn’t help matters. Players like Napoli’s Hirving Lozano will provide the creative spark and qualifying for the knockout stages could last all the way to the opening game against Poland on day three of the World Cup, with Argentina expected to win Group C and Saudi Arabia lined up as the whipping boys.

Here’s everything you need to know:

group games (all times GMT)

Tuesday 22 November: Mexico – Poland – 4:00 p.m

Saturday 26 November: Argentina v Mexico – 19:00

Wednesday 30 November: Saudi Arabia – Mexico – 19:00

Mexico will look to secure that elusive spot in the quarterfinals

(AFP via Getty Images)

Confirmed Squad

Goalkeeper: Guillermo Ochoa (Club America), Alfredo Talavera (Juarez FC), Rodolfo Cota (Leon)

Defender: Jorge Sanchez (Ajax), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey), Kevin Alvarez (Pachuca), Gerardo Arteaga (Genk), Hector Moreno (Monterrey), Nestor Araujo (Club America), Cesar Montes (Monterrey), Johan Vasquez (Cremonese)

Midfield player: Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Hector Herrera (Houston Dynamo), Edson Alvarez (Ajax), Luis Chavez (Pachuca), Erick Gutierrez (PSV Eindhoven), Uriel Antuna (Cruz Azul), Orbelin Pineda (AEK Athens), Carlos Rodriguez ( Cruz Azul), Robert Alvarado (Guadalajara), Luis Romo (Monterrey)

Forward: Raul Jimenez (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Hirving Lozano (Napoli), Alexis Vega (Chivas), Henry Martin (Club America), Rogelio Funes Mori (Monterrey)

To observe

Stern – Hirving Lozano: With Javier Hernandez on the outside, Mexico don’t have a world-class forward to take center stage in this side, meaning most of their creativity comes from the wingers. Sevilla’s Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona is expected to miss the World Cup with a fractured left fibula and ankle ligament damage, meaning Napoli’s Hirving Lozano has extra pressure on his shoulders. The 27-year-old – nicknamed “Chucky” after the doll in the child’s play Horror franchise due to his propensity to hide under his teammates’ beds during his day with the youth team and scare them – has the speed and skill to inflict seizures on opposing defenders. A right-footed playmaker who is often used as a winger on the left, he creates plenty of goal participation with cutting and goal-shooting.

Hirving Lozano holds the keys to Mexico

(Getty Images)

Breakthrough Talent – ​​Alexis Vega: If Raul Jimenez’s injury streak and lack of form continue, El Tri’s goals will have to come elsewhere. That could come from backup centre-forward Henry Martin, but also from the flanks – as Lozano mentioned. On the opposite side could be Alexis Vega, a 24-year-old who has so far spent his entire career in his native country and has become a regular for the national team over the last 18 months, adding a couple of goals to his game along the way. It’s going too far to say he could make the difference in every game, but when the defenders’ attention is on the bigger name on the opposite side he has the technique and ability to attack the box in a very effective way.

90/1

forecast

There is a real danger that Mexico’s streak of progressing through the group stage in their last eight World Cup appearances is coming to an end, but they certainly have the ability to beat Poland in their tough Group C duel, especially if they can hold Robert Lewandowski calm. Their World Cup know-how should not be underestimated and while the wait for a first quarter-final appearance since 1986 will likely continue, let’s play the odds and predict they will reach the last 16 again. Lost in the round of 16.

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