One of the first things you will learn about Mexicans if you decide to relocate to Mexico is they love their football, or fútbol as it is known locally. The whole of Mexico comes alive whenever the men’s national team is in action, so expect plenty of cheering and a partisan atmosphere from November 20 through December 18 because Mexico is competing at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Mexico has qualified for 17 of the 22 FIFA World Cups since 1930, which is some achievement considering the men’s game did not turn professional until 1943. The past seven tournaments have seen Mexico exit at the Round of 16 stage, but Mexico has reached the quarter-finals stage twice, in 1970 and 1986, when they were the host nation. The squad of 26 players coach Gerardo Martino selected head to Qatar with the expectations of a country on their shoulders. Those lucky enough to play in any of Mexico’s fixtures will go into those matches knowing they are one of the best-supported teams in the competition.
The Road to the 2022 FIFA World Cup
Current FIFA rankings place Mexico as the 13th-best team globally. Such a ranking puts them within touching distance of Croatia, Denmark, and Germany but ahead of Switzerland, the United States, and Uruguay. The best online sports betting sites are less optimistic than the football-loving Mexican public because most price them as the 16th favorites for World Cup glory in Qatar.
Mexico qualified for the 2022 World Cup with relative ease, finishing in second place behind Canada in the CONCACAF group, where they won eight, drew four, and lost two of their 14 fixtures. The 2022 World Cup Group Stage draw could have been better, yet it could have been much worse. Mexico is part of Group C, meaning they lock horns with Argentina, Poland, and Saudi Arabia. On paper, you would expect Mexico to finish second in the group behind Argentina, the tournament’s second-favorites behind Brazil. Should that happen, Mexico would face the winners of Group D in the Round of 16, with France the most likely opponents.
France and Mexico have only faced each other seven times. France has won five of those encounters, one ended in a draw, with Mexico emerging victoriously the last time the teams met during the group stages of the 2010 World Cup. That victory all but condemned France to an early exit. A clash with the French would be an exciting spectacle and a game Mexico would fancy their chances in should it happen. Once you are past the Round of 16, anything can happen.
Mexico’s Key Players
The 26-man squad heading to Qatar is brimming with experience. Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa has represented his country 130 times. Defender Hector Moreno (127), Hector Herrera (101), and the talismanic captain Andres Guardado (177) are the other players in the 100-cap club; Guardado is Mexico’s most-capped player.
Hard work and determination are the order of the day for the nucleus of the Mexican team. Even if they face opponents with superior players and skills, you can guarantee the Mexicans will outrun them and be relentless from the first to the final whistle. However, there is more than strength and stamina in this Mexico team.
Forward Raul Jimenez, who plays his club football for Wolverhampton Wanderers of the English Premier League, has 29 international goals in 96 appearances. Two more goals would see Jiminez become his country’s sixth-highest goalscorer of all time. Then you have Hirving Lozana, a tricky winger who has lit up the UEFA Champions League for Italian outfit Napoli this season.
Having hard-working players complemented by a fair share of skillful, dangerous attackers, any team has a chance of glory at a football tournament. Mexico should progress to at least the Round of 16, and while winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup could be a little out of El Tri’s reach, fans of the Mexican men’s national football team are guaranteed to be entertained.