Mexican national team's wish list for 2013
A packed slate of tournaments awaits Mexico over the next 12 months. Year 3 will definitely prove to be a bigger challenge for manager Jose Manuel de la Torre as he will be asked to take the all-important step of qualifying El Tri for the 2014 World Cup, where the CONCACAF champs are expected to at least make the quarterfinals after five straight second-round exits.
There is also a Confederations Cup, which will be the best chance to truly gauge Mexico's progress against a top slate of nations that includes four-time World Cup winners Italy, the current holders Spain and of course, host Brazil. Closer to home, El Tri will send a "B" team to defend its 2011 Gold Cup win against a hungry U.S. squad and improving Central American and Caribbean opposition.
To get through this gauntlet, Mexico will need terrific individual performances from its stars and will need to prove that it can continue to function as a cohesive unit on offense and defense.
Here is Mexico's wish list for 2013:
Chicharito needs to be Chicharito
The Manchester United star suffered through a very noticeable slump last summer as El Tri vied to become one of the six nations in the CONCACAF pre-World Cup Hexagonal. Despite scoring three times in the six qualifying matches he was a part of, Javier Hernandez was criticized for a string of puzzling misses and a drop in form that had outside observers wondering if he was on his way out from the Red Devils, considering his drop in production was not exclusive to the national side.