It’s been a little more than 10 years since Mexico won the 2005 U-17 World Cup. Mexico’s “Golden Generation,” as this group of players is called, has arrived at a crucial point of their careers. Things will come to a head this Saturday in the game against the United States, which will determine who will head to the 2017 Confederations Cup. Giovani Dos Santos, Carlos Vela, and Hector Moreno were all part of the 2005 championship.
Now add Andrés Guardado, Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, Héctor Herrera, and Miguel Layún, and you have the most successful group of Mexican players in European soccer in the country’s history.
This Saturday will be the last opportunity for this group of talented players to play a Confederations Cup, because unless they age like wine – which is rare in soccer – they will be too old for the 2021 Confederations Cup. There aren’t many chances for Mexico’s Golden Generation to shine, and there will be even less if they lose against the United States.
So with the game just around the corner, here are the five key things you need to know about the Mexican team for Saturday’s game.
The game will air tomorrow at 7 p.m. EST. Watch it here on Univision.
The Mexican Strikers' Dry Spell
It is no secret that the best Mexican striker of recent times, Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, has experienced a terrible dry spell in the last couple of years. Carlos Vela, one of the most talented Mexican players in history, is also not currently at his best. The hope lies perhaps in Jesús “Tecatito” Corona, who is playing quite well. We’ll just have to wait and see how this sorts out.
El Tri’s formation and starting lineup has changed a lot in recent years, and this hasn’t been the exception under Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti. The Brazilian-Mexican manager has varied his formations quite a lot in the three games he has managed, and it is unclear what the lineup will be for his fourth, last, and most important game. Whatever it is, let’s hope the Mexican players can adapt and perform well. Will Vela, Chicharito, and Oribe start? Corona? Who knows, so stay tuned.
Let’s just say Mexico’s defense has looked shaky in recent games. The last time they played, El Tri received two goals in the final minutes of the game against Argentina. And then there’s the seven goals in two games that they received from Trinidad and Tobago. In addition, Mexican captain and defense leader Rafael Márquez is coming back from an injury, so we’ll just have to wait and see how that works out.
The U.S. Team's Rough Form
This is not the best U.S. team in history. German coach Jürgen Klinsmann has put together a group of young talent, many coming from European soccer, but the youngins are still struggling to find their best play. Some more polishing is definitely necessary, but whether Mexico will take advantage of the U.S. team’s current rough form is yet to be seen.
Mexico has not defeated the United States since that great 4-2 victory in the 2011 Gold Cup final. They have played six more times after that game and have a record of zero wins, three ties, and three losses, including a 0-1-1 record at the Azteca Stadium. Mexico will have to shake off some demons, but they are definitely capable of doing so, like they did in 2011 when they were down 0-2.