The 5 Mexicans who hold the key to success
JAVIER “Chicharito” HERNANDEZ
Much is anticipated of “El tri” in South Africa and these are the main men who must perform and inspire the team to success.
Young Hernandez has been attracting huge amounts of attention in Mexico after an impressive season for Chivas which has in turn has attracted the attention of Manchester United who snapped him up at end of this season.
Chicharito is named after his father Javier Hernández Gutiérrez, also a Mexican International footballer who was named “Chicharo” or pea because of his green eyes.
Despite being slight of build he possesses great heading ability coupled with tremendous movement and excellent penalty box anticipation. This combination makes him an excellent striker and lethal in front of goal.
In 11 games for Mexico he has notched up 7 goals however these have all been in the slew of friendlies arranged since qualification. If he can replicate this form in the World Cup and link well with Giovanni Dos Santos Hernandez may set the tournament alight. Much is expected of this little, pocket dynamo and his performances will no doubt be keenly followed by Alex Ferguson and the Red Devil masses.RAFAEL “Rafa” MARQUEZ
Marquez has been the poster boy of Mexican football for the last decade especially since his move from Monaco to Barcelona in 2003. Usually deployed as a centre back but capable of performing as right back or in midfield Marquez’s versatility will be key for Mexico in South Africa.
One of his main attributes is his ability to read the game and anticipate his opponent’s next move and although not a towering, centre back at 6 foot he is strong in the air and dominants opposing strikers.
Injuries in recent years have hampered Marquez’s career at club and international level but since his debut in 1997 he has managed to clock in 90 appearances, with 10 goals and South Africa will be his 3rd World Cup having played in every match in Mexico’s games in Japan/South Korea 2002 and Germany 2008. In his last World Cup appearance he was red-carded against the United States and feat that he repeated against United States in South Africa qualification.GERARDO “ El Borrego” TORRADO
Gerardo Torrado plays in the heart of Mexico’s midfield and can act as a spoiling, holding midfielder that breaks down opposition’s attacks or can be a creative link between the defenders and strikers. He is a combative player known for his sturdy tackles and determined playing style but he also possesses a keen eye for a pass.
Similar in style to Makelele or Gilberto Silva in 110 games for Mexico he has managed only 6 goals which is not surprising considering how deep he plays in midfield. “El Borrego” or the sheep as he is known (because of previous haircuts) was born in Mexico to Spanish parents and started his career for PUMA’s in Mexico before playing the next 6-7 years in La Liga for a few different clubs most noticeably Sevilla. In 2005 he returned to Mexico to join Cruz Azul of Mexico City enjoying 3 runner-up Mexican league seasons and a CONCACAF Champions League final as club captain. He is likely to be named as national team captain for the World Cup.GIOVANNI “Gio” DOS SANTOS
Baby faced Giovanni was born into a footballing family. His Brazilian father played for Mexican League teams in the 80’s and his brothers Eder and Jonathon play for Club America and Barcelona respectively.
Playing behind the main strikers he often creates opportunities for his team-mates with incisive runs and close ball control. When given an opportunity to score he is composed usually electing to round the keeper a slot into the gaping goal. Like all good attacking midfielders he has a low centre of gravity but maybe lacks physical strength, the main reason why he has struggled in the rumble tumble of the Premiership (he was on loan to Galatasaray for past season).
Spurs supporters may have not seen the best of this young play-maker but when he plays for Mexico all of their attacking momentum and creativity flows through him. If he can get more involved, express his undoubted talents and link up with the strikers then Mexico may realize their ambition of reaching the last 8.GUILLERMO “Memo” OCHOA
Mexico’s number one has been a member of the national squad since Germany, 2006 but only recently has he cemented his first team place. A succession of qualification clean sheets and fine form for Chivas Guadalajara convinced Javier Aguirre of his merits and Ochoa has been a mainstay of since the current coach’s appointment.
Ochoa has excellent stop-stopping skills, good reflexes and is particularly proficient in one-on- one situations with attackers. Unfortunately his domestic form has suffered recently prompting Aguirre to utilize Oscar Perez in recently friendly matches. Ochoa’s main weakness Is crosses in to box where he can become indecisive and hesitant.