Mexico topped both of their qualifying groups but there are still doubts over the team.

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Mexico World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide

Mexico vs Germany (17th June)

Mexico face a strong Germany in their opening game of the tournament. Can they pull off an upset? Match preview here. 

Mexico Starting XI: 13 Guillermo Ochoa, 2 Hugo Ayala, 3 Carlos Salcedo, 15 Hector Moreno, 16 Hector Herrera, 7 Miguel Layun, 18 Andres Guardado (4 Rafael Marquez 74), 23 Jesus Gallardo, 11 Carlos Vela (21 Edson Alvarez 58), 14 Javier Hernandez, 22 Hirving Lozano (9 Raul Jimenez 66)

Germany Starting XI: 1 Manuel Neuer, 18 Joshua Kimmich, 17 Jerome Boateng, 2 Marvin Plattenhardt (9 Mario Gomez 79), 5 Mats Hummels6 Sami Khedira (11 Marco Reus 60), 8 Toni Kroos, 7 Julian Draxler10 Mesut Ozil, 13 Thomas Muller9 Timo Werner (20 Julian Brandt 86)

Moscow Luzniki

Germany 0 Mexico 1

Scorer:

Germany: none

Mexico: Lozano 35

Match overview

Defending champions Germany lost their opening game for the first time since 1982 after they were stunned by Mexico, who pulled off their greatest World Cup performance.

Germany struggled to cope with Mexico’s pressing and speedy counter-attacks but for the opening half-hour Mexico were unable to supply the killer final ball. But they took a deserved lead when Hirving Lozano’s brilliant strike completed a devastating move as the Mexicans ripped apart the world champions on the counter-attack.

Germany were more composed in the second half and enjoyed more possession as they pressed forward. But Timo Werner and substitute  Mario Gomez both missed excellent opportunities to equalise.

Hirving Lozano scores to put Mexico 1-0 up (Getty Images)

Matter of fact

By playing in this fifth World Cup, Rafael Marquez equalled the record of Antonio Carbajal (Mexico) and Lothar Matthaus (Germany). He alsobecame the first player to captain his country at five different World Cups.

Talking point

Joshua Kimmich’s forays forward on Germany’s right flank left gaps for Mexico to exploit and Germany’s outnumbered central midfield of Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira were unable to cope with the counter-attacks. It was a thoroughly uncharacteristic performance from Germany, who lacked their usual composure and gave the ball away far too often.

Stats

Germany/Mexico

Possession: 60/40

Goal attempts: 25/12

Attempts on target: 9/6

Corners: 8/1

Fouls: 10/15

Pass accuracy: 86/82

Distance covered: 110/106

Mexico World Cup Guide

As seems to be the case every four years, Mexico will arrive at the 2018 World Cup with the mission to advance to the quarter-finals while wrapped in doubts and in the middle of a heated public debate about the quality of the team and its coach. However, unlike on most other occasions, this time El Tri topped the CONCACAF qualifying table with ease . Given the quality at their disposal, if the draw is kind to them, this time around the team might just end its streak of six consecutive round-of-16 exits.

Key Moments in Qualifying

Nov 2016
Mexico beat USA 2-1 with a last-minute goal by Rafa Marquez. It is El Tri’s first victory in the American stronghold of Columbus, Ohio, where they had previously lost four times in a row.
Mar 2017
With a 2-0 win against Costa Rica, Mexico take first place in the qualifying group – a spot that they will never relinquish during the rest of the campaign.
Sep 2017
Mexico qualify for the finals with three games to play by defeating Panama 1-0 at Estadio Azteca thanks to a goal from Hirving Lozano.
Oct 2017
El Tri make sure of a first-place finish for the first time since 1998 with a 3-1 victory over Trinidad & Tobago.

Mexico World Cup Group

Mexico are in Group F alongside Germany, Sweden and South Korea.

Mexico World Cup Friendlies

On the 1st of February Mexico beat Bosnia 1-0. A 3-0 victory against Iceland followed on the 24th of March, but then they lost to Croatia on the 28th. Two months later Mexico drew with Wales but then beat Scotland on the 2nd of June. Finally, they will lost to Denmark on the 9th.

  • 1st February – Bosnia (won 1-0)
  • 24th March – Iceland (won 3-0)
  • 28th March – Croatia (lost 1-0)
  • 28th May – Wales (drew 0-0)
  • 2nd June – Scotland (won 1-0)
  • 9th June – Denmark (lost 2-0)

Mexico World Cup Fixtures

Mexico will open their World Cup account against Thomas MullerMats Hummels and Germany on the 17th of June. Followed by South Korea on the 23rd and Sweden on the 27th.

The Coach

Juan Carlos Osorio, age 56 (08.06.61)
Appointed in October 2015, he was assistant to Stuart Pearce at Manchester City before starting a coaching career in his native Colombia, moving on to Mexico, Brazil and the United States. He won a league title with Once Caldas and three more with Atletico Nacional in Colombia.

Balance: Osorio must find a way to balance the team (Getty Images)

The Players
Stars
Although he did not have the best start to the season at West Ham, Javier Hernandez is his country’s all-time top goalscorer and remains the team’s most recognisable face.
Stalwarts
With 143 international caps yet still only 31 years of age, captain Andres Guardado provides calm leadership in midfield. The same can also be said of Hector Moreno at the back. Hector Herrera, Jesus Corona and Miguel Layun have been regulars in recent years, as has keeper Guillermo Ochoa.
Missing
Alfredo Talavera has alternated between the posts with Ochoa in recent years but a knee injury means he is likely to miss the finals.
Debut
It will be a first World Cup for the new star of the team, winger Hirving Lozano, who has taken the Dutch league by storm since joining PSV.

Mexico World Cup Squad

Final 23-man squad –

GOALKEEPERS: Guillermo Ochoa (Standard Liege), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul).

DEFENDERS: Carlos Salcedo (Eintracht Frankfurt), Diego Reyes (Porto), Hector Moreno (Real Sociedad), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Edson Alvarez (America), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey), Miguel Layun (Sevilla).

MIDFIELDERS: Rafael Marquez (Atlas), Hector Herrera (Porto), Jonathan Dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Giovani Dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Marco Fabian (Eintracht Frankfurt).

FORWARDS: Javier Hernandez (West Ham), Raul Jimenez (Benfica), Oribe Peralta (America), Jesus Manuel Corona (Porto), Carlos Vela (Los Angeles FC), Javier Aquino (Tigres), Hirving Lozano (PSV Eindhoven).

Mexico World Cup Injuries

We will update you with injuries regularly.

Poacher: Hernandez is the all-time top scorer for Mexico (Getty Images)

The Unanswered Questions

Where does the team’s biggest weakness lie?
When analysing the Mexican squad you can find an abundance of riches in attack, but they are vulnerable at the back. El Tri like to keep possession and dictate the rhythm of games but they suffer when put under pressure and attacked. Coach Juan Carlos Osorio must find a way to balance the team.

22: At just 22 years old, Lozano is a star and he is taking the Dutch league by storm (Getty Images)

How far can Hirving Lozano go?
He scored twice in the recent friendly against Belgium and fans will expect him to be the player who makes a difference in Russia. However, at 22, that’s a big ask.

Will Rafa Marquez play a fifth World Cup at the age of 39?
He seemed on track for another finals until a US government report accused him of being a “front man” for organised crime. Marquez is now back playing for Atlas and hadn’t been called up since the incident, but Marquez has made the preliminary squad.

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