Mexico will take part in their 14th World Cup when they take to the pitch in South Africa this summer. The furthest El Tri have ever progressed is the quarter-final stage on the two occasions they hosted the finals, in 1970 and 1986. They have been knocked out at the second round stage in the last four tournaments.

Their place at the finals was secured via a second place finish in the final group of the CONCACAF qualification process, although their fairly comfortable final position belies the difficulty they had faced in the first few games, where there were genuine concerns over their ability to qualify. Having eventually pulled through, Mexico’s reward is a place in Group A alongside France, Uruguay and hosts South Africa.

The Coach

Javier Aguirre (MEX)
51 years old

Aguirre is currently in his second spell as Mexico coach, returning to the national team following seven years in Spain coaching Osasuna and then Atletico Madrid. First time around, he led El Tri to the final of the 2001 Copa America and the second round of the 2002 World Cup.

When he took charge for a second time, Mexico had lost two of their opening three qualifiers under the tutelage of Swedish coach Sven-Goran Eriksson and needed results quickly to turn around their fortunes. A 2-1 defeat to El Salvador in Aguirre’s opening game in charge was hardly an ideal start, but that result was followed by five consecutive victories that propelled Mexico to qualification.

That good form has generally carried forward into Mexico’s string of pre-World Cup friendlies and Aguirre is optimistic they can have a strong tournament. “We have the best Mexican team ever… our intention is to have a historic World Cup.”

Players to watch

Carlos Salcido
30 years old
Centre Back/Left Back
PSV Eindhoven (HOL)

This Mexico side has an excellent defensive record in recent games and imposing left-back Salcido has a big role to play in ensuring the frustration of opposition forwards continues in South Africa. Solid, dependable and highly experienced, he is the stand out name in a defence in which those characteristics are plentiful.



Gerardo Torrado
30 years old
Cruz Azul (MEX)

The regular captain of the side, Torrado leads by example, displaying an impressive work ethic in harassing opposition midfielders into mistakes to win back possession for his side. But Torrado is not a mere scrapper. Once possession is regained he has the requisite vision to turn defence into attack in a blink of an eye, with quality distribution over both long and short distances.

Cuauhtemoc Blanco
37 years old
Veracruz (MEX)

Old, slow, overweight and out of form at club level he may be, but for his ingenuity alone, Blanco is essential to Mexico’s chances in South Africa. Brought back into the international fold by Aguirre after falling out of favour with Eriksson, he provides the moments of inspiration for the younger bodies around him to take advantage of. This World Cup could well be a perfect swan song to a long and illustrious career.

Javier Hernandez
21 years old
Chivas Guadalajara (MEX)

Just over a year ago, Hernandez was considering quitting football to return to full-time schooling. With the World Cup now upon us he is a regular for his club side Chivas, has broken into the Mexico side with a string of impressive friendly performances and will join Manchester United after the tournament. A sprightly, wily, two-footed striker, there are hopes he could finally be the man to replace eighties star Hugo Sanchez as the world-class spearhead of the Mexican attack.

The view from Mexico

Confidence is high going into the tournament, with a genuine feeling prevailing that this is the best Mexican side ever to enter a World Cup. With a well-balanced squad made up of the best players from their recent strong performances at youth level and the experienced older heads from the last two World Cups, a recent newspaper poll found that 9 in 10 Mexicans believe their side will reach at least the quarter-finals this summer.


Mexico’s group is likely to be tightly contested, with all four teams hopeful of qualifying in one of the top two spots. Mexico have the unenviable task of kicking off the tournament against host nation South Africa, but if they can avoid defeat in that game they have a decent chance of making the last 16, possibly at the expense of France. Any chance of progressing beyond their obligatory exit point of the second round seems unlikely though.

Did you know?

Mexico are one of two teams in the 2010 tournament that were banned from the 1990 competition – Chile being the other. Mexico’s ban came after they selected players over FIFA’s allowed age limit in qualifying for the Seoul Olympics of 1988.

Group games

11/06/10: Mexico  1 – 1  South Africa    –   Soccer City, Johannesburg
17/06/10: Mexico  2 – 0  France    –  Polokwane
22/06/10: Mexico  0 – 1  Uruguay    –  Rustenberg