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The Road to 2014: On Carlos, Javier, Giovani, Efraín, and Pablo

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Mexico begins its road to Brazil 2014 on June 8th, 2012, against Guyana. Costa Rica and El Salvador complete the remainder of Group B in the third round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.

José Manuel “Chepo” de La Torre and his staff will encounter an unstable situation. The Mexico team that marveled in last year’s Gold Cup has some of its major difference makers not fulfilling great 2011-12 seasons in their respective leagues.

Pablo Barrera, who hardly plays with Zaragoza, a team on the verge of relegation, played a major role in Chepo’s starting eleven. His goal in the early minutes of the second half in the final at the Rose Bowl against the United States switched the rhythm of the game and allowed Mexico to control the last 35 minutes.

Efraín Juárez, who started the season with Javier Aguirre’s Zaragoza, and later dropped out of the team after the dismissal of Mexico’s 2002 and 2010 World Cup coach, has suffered the hardest blow out of the group. Today his club, Celtic FC, are Scotland’s champion, but he was not part of the process.

Far away are the days that Efraín delighted the Celtic Park spectators with goals and good performances in the midfield or right back (they actually happened!). His return to Mexico is more viable than another opportunity with The Hoops.

Last year Racing de Santander fans celebrated Giovani’s goals; they sung his name more than once. His desire to recuperate that spirit of a different playmaker on the pitch allowed dos Santos to enchant and lead Mexico to its sixth Gold Cup. He inspired Racing to stay in La Liga BBVA, but today without him and coach Marcelino García Toral, the team from Cantabria is likely to drop to Liga Adelante.

The Tottenham Hotspur nightmare is giving its last signs of life; in a matter of months Giovani should finally shut the door to his ordeal. It is important to resuscitate Mexico’s number 10, and this summer with qualifiers and a possibility to attend the Olympics, his confidence will ascend.

Manchester United is breaking away from Manchester City and looking forward to its second consecutive Premiership title, after displaying poor and embarrassing games in Champions and Europa League.

Hernández is not the killer forward from last season; inconsistency and new challenges have prevented the Chivas prodigy from shining as he did last season. The unfortunate head injury during the preseason affected his entire season, but his desire to learn and grow as a Red Devil have permitted him to live up to Manchester United’s history.

Javier will be on the starting eleven against Guyana, as could be Carlos Vela, Mexico’s best player in Europe. With ten goals under his helm and displaying a lot of joy on the pitch, Vela brings a sigh of relief to Chepo and his staff.

Vela did not participate in last year’s Gold Cup, for reasons only known to Chepo and the el bombardero de Quintana Roo. Vela, Giovani, and Javier represent a trio that should make Mexico’s life easier during the CONCACAF qualifiers. There are other players such as Barrera, Juárez, Guardado, Moreno, and Ochoa, who will also play major roles.

This summer the main objective is to leave a mark in London, not by winning a medal (this would be a superior achievement), but by constructing a young team on the basis that a big part of it will be influential in the 2014, 2018, and 2022 World Cups. In the end, Mexico’s reality is of an evolution, of which has to be delicately construed, in order to achieve the unexpected.