Of the 18 Mexican national team starters and substitutes that Sven Goran Eriksson sent out onto the field at Columbus Crew Stadium on February 11th, 2009, just two remain going into the Feb. 6 game against Jamaica. In just four years, Mexico has undergone a pretty obvious upheaval in terms of a generational renaissance. Wins at the U-17 level in 2011 and U-23 level a year later have prompted a youth movement for Chepo de la Torre's team that includes just six players over the age of 30, three of whom are goalkeepers.
Whereas such sweeping changes from one World Cup run to the next aren't completely unheard of, it makes perfect sense for Mexico to trust players with proven track records to deliver a World Cup qualifying berth.
Despite it being just four years ago almost to the day, it's pretty inconceivable to think that players such as Matias Vuoso, Fausto Pinto, Leobardo Lopez, Oswaldo Sanchez, Nery Castillo, Alberto Medina, Omar Bravo and Ricardo Osorio could ever be selected to play for El Tri again, much less be in the running for starting spots.
Eriksson's Seleccion, a stunted process that only delivered collective acid reflux to millions of fans after his dismissal, put Mexico in the rare situation of having to almost win out in order to just get to the World Cup, let alone have any serious chances of making a dent in the competition.
Just four years later, the fresh faces that Luis Fernando Tena and De la Torre have carefully guided into the national team mix fit in perfectly with a few seasoned veterans who have either been pleasant surprises in their status as late bloomers or are one of the few holdovers from the Eriksson/Javier Aguirre era running up to South Africa 2010.
To read the full blog entry on comparing the 2009 and 2013 national team squads, plus to gain access to all of Insider's soccer content, sign up today.