Projecting El Tri's 2014 World Cup roster
Three months on from this blog's first look ahead to what El Tri's starting lineup and squad could look like at Brazil 2014 and the task seems to have become slightly more complicated. In some positions there is strengthened competition for places, while in others there isn't the quality you would like to see at this stage for a team hoping to mount a legitimate challenge for the World Cup.
We've again gone with a 4-2-3-1 formation, aware that Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre has experimented recently with the 4-4-2, but we think the two defensive midfielders underpin the solidity of the side, while the four attacking players provide the flair and fluidity that can cause any team in the world problems.
We've also tended to opt for youth ahead of experienced stalwarts such as Rafael Marquez, Carlos Salcido, Gerardo Torrado and others in the knowledge that Mexico should quite easily get through the CONCACAF Hexagonal and that it, as well as next year's Confederations Cup, will provide a chance for younger players to gain some competitive experience. There's also the obvious fact that some of the quality younger players are improving all the time.
The best example of El Tri having almost an embarrassment of options is in those two defensive midfield roles. Naming who will start is a minefield, and Chepo's recent starting lineups show that he, too, might not be 100 percent sure whom he prefers there at this point. Who would've predicted the impact that 22-year-old Carlos Pena has had in the Liga MX this season with Club Leon? With his six goals, along with his physicality and his consistency, he should be considered a real candidate and could potentially force his way into the starting 11 further down the line.