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World Cup 2014

World Cup 2014 Tactics: Analysing Mexico’s tactical approach, formation, and set up

Mexico struggled to make it into the World Cup, having to take the play-off route to beat New Zealand. However, the El Tri are here now, and will be a tough proposition for any side. They have a knack of coming to the big games and big tournaments and causing upsets, as they did at the 2012 Olympics in London. They’re grouped with their opponents in the Olympic finals, Brazil, but realistically, will be looking to beat Croatia and Cameroon to the second place spot in a tough group.


Mexico are a technical team and an elaborate team but always seem to fall short in quality when they come up against bigger or more clinical teams.

Mexico is technically adept. They have many fast and tactically disciplined players in their side. They will most likely arrive in Brazil without pressure on them because many know they won’t do something special but they no they won’t crash out and fail early on. They have quality, but not enough quality. The defence is a slow defence with players like Marquez in it and the midfield may not be able to battle with physical midfields.

The Mexicans are most likely to line up like this:

Corona; Aguilar, Reyes, Marquez, Moreno, Layun; Herrera, Medina, Pena; Hernandez, Peralta

Made using Tactical Pad

Made using Tactical Pad


Manager Herrera is most likely to deploy wingbacks. He uses an attacking line up and tends to look past certain star players and give opportunities to those who have worked under him and players who know his style. This gives his team more stability because those who are starting have the experience of playing this way and know what they have to do in such a system.

In the system Herrera uses, the wingbacks play a huge part in the teams attacking prowess and offer support to the forward players through runs up and down the flanks. In the midfield Brizuela is likely to play an anchor-man style role. The two central players ahead of him, possibly Herrera and Pena, will most likely be the box-to-box midfielders, the engines who win the ball and offer support to the overlapping wingbacks and the strikers.

The centre forwards in this formation have different roles. One plays as an out and out striker whereas the other plays just behind, in the hole if you want. He still is playing up top but offers that extra option when the furthest striker is cancelled out. The formation is very attacking and if teams exploit the Mexicans defensive weaknesses on the counter or just overall, then we could see them getting hurt. The players will have to be very confident on the ball and shouldn’t panic, otherwise it could leave the defensive midfielder and the three centre backs in loads of trouble, as seven players could be in the oppositions half at a time. Herrera has juggled his starting formation and players around a lot and it seems as though the new line up could possibly lack cohesion at the tournament.

Herrera is most likely to use local Liga MX players in his side with an exception of a few players, such as Porto’s Hector Herrera. The system Herrera uses, and the players he likes to deploy means there might not be a place available for talented players such as Giovanni Dos Santos, even though many would like to see him feature in Brazil. However, it gives other players such as Carlos Pena and full back, Layun, a chance to show the world what they are made of.


Oribe Peralta | Many people outside of Mexico look at stars such as Giovanni Dos Santos and Javier Hernandez as their key players, which they are, but there is one striker who is just as important. Oribe Peralta. The striker is 30 years old and is arguably, a late bloomer but he is a superb number 9 and possibly the best out of the European leagues. The striker managed to grab a brace at the London 2012 Olympics to secure El Tri a Gold medal finish. Peralta is almost guaranteed a spot in the starting XI and that leaves one space up top in Herrera’s system. Javier Hernandez or Giovanni Dos Santos will battle to fill that free space.

Chicharito | Javier Hernandez has had a disappointing club season, sitting on the bench most of the time for Manchester United. However, Chicharito is still expected to make an impact at Brazil. He can be used as an impact sub or he could fill the second striker spot. He is most likely to start on the bench due to lack of playing time for club. The striker is known for what he can do inside the penalty area. He is fantastic at converting chances in the penalty area, a poacher if you may.


Carlos Pena | He isn’t the youngest player in the squad but he is the most influential young player they have in their squad. Carlos Pena found a starting spot at Leon two years ago which set him off to become one of the most improved Mexico players today.

Pena usually plays as a central midfielder. A 5 ft 8 inch midfielder who offers speed and stamina in the midfield. He suits Herrera’s style because he offers an option in the box-to-box role. Pena is likely to play a box-to-box style play along with Hector Herrera in the midfield. He can also bring some important goals to the table. A good shooter from distance, he also has superb creativity in the final third which gives Mexico a chance to create more opportunities at goal. He is definitely going to be a player to watch for El Tri.

This piece was written by Luke Taylor. Follow him on Twitter @luke16taylor

Read our Analysis of all teams here, and all other WC2014 related content here.


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