Mexico find themselves in the group of death at Fifa World Cup 2018 in Russia. The El Tri will face one of their toughest test as early as in the opening game as they face defending champions Germany on Sunday in Moscow.
The North American side, under Juan Carlos Osorio, qualified for the finals in Russia after topping the CONCACAF table with six wins and only one defeat in 10 matches.
However, their performances in Copa America 2016 and last year's Confederation Cup doesn't inspire confidence. The North American side were booted out of the continental tournament after a 7-0 defeat to Chile in the quarter-final while they were beaten in a two-legged semi-final 4-1 to Germany in Russia in 2017.
Mexico have managed to reach the last 16 round for six straight times. Osorio's men need to be at their best if they are to maintain that record, given the quality of the teams (Germany, South Korea, Sweden) in their group (F).
Tabloid stories about Mexican players involved in a farewell party with around 30 prostitutes after their win over Scotland in Mexico City last Saturday. Despite most players, including Javier Hernandez, have denied the presence of escorts in the party, the stories seem to be an unwanted distraction for the national side.
The El Tri suffered a 2-0 defeat to Denmark in the final pre-World Cup warm-up on Saturday.
IBTimes, India has compiled a list of key players for Mexico in Russia. Check them out below:
The West Ham forward is one of the most experienced players in the Mexican squad in Russia. The 30-year-old was not in the best of forms during the last season in London but he has always found ways to contribute to his national team.
Having scored 49 times in 101 appearances, including the last two editions of the World Cup, Hernandez is a key to Mexico's chances of making it out of the group stages. The former Manchester United star needs to be at his best if the North Americans are to reach the business end of the quadrennial spectacle.
Reports of an uneasy situation in the Mexican side after Herrera left the squad last Wednesday emerged but the Porto captain joined the team the following day, ending the rumours.
The 28-year-old, who won the Primeira Liga title with Porto, is heading into the tournament in fine form, which was also evident in the pre-World Cup friendlies. The midfielder's ability to create chances at will has made him one of the favorites of coach Osorio.
Ochoa, who plays for Belgian club Standard Liege, is the man to watch out for in the Mexican squad. Known for his cat-like reflexes, the 32-year-old is more experienced than ever in Russia.
He has been Osorio's first-choice custodian over the last two years. Ochoa impressed in the 2014 Fifa World Cup where he conceded only one goal in three group stage outings. He was named the Man of the Match in the R16 against the Netherlands despite Mexico losing 1-0 following a stoppage-time penalty.
The 39-year-old veteran will become the only third player after Lothar Matthaus, and his compatriot Antonio Carbajal to play in five World Cups in Russia. Marquez is not getting younger anymore but is still a valuable asset for the team, given his experience of playing at the highest level.
His participation was thrown into doubt when he was allegedly linked with a drug trafficking kingpin but the defensive midfielder is all set to lead the side in the upcoming campaign.