Mexico has announced the call up list for the World Cup qualifiers in October, in which they will play home matches against Canada and Honduras and close out with an away match against El Salvador. Coach Gerardo Martino called up the team that will return to Estadio Azteca to face Canada on October 7th and then Honduras in October 10th. They will then travel to San Salvador to face El Salvador on October 13th. The team currently sits in first place of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers with 7 points, followed closely by future rival Canada and the United States, both with 5 points.
The call up list was the following:
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (America), Alfredo Talavera (Pumas), Rodolfo Cota (Leon), Jonathan Orozco (Tijuana)
Defenders: Nestor Araujo (Celta de Vigo), Johan Vasquez (Genoa), Luis Rodriguez (Tigres), Cesar Montes (Monterrey), Jorge Sanchez (America), Hector Moreno (Monterrey), Julio Cesar Dominguez (Cruz Azul), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey), Osvaldo Rodriguez (Leon)
Midfielders: Hector Herrera (Atletico Madrid), Edson Alvarez (Ajax), Andres Guardado (Betis), Sebastian Cordova (America), Jonathan Dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Luis Romo (Cruz Azul), Uriel Antuna (Chivas), Orbelin Pineda (Cruz Azul), Carlos Rodriguez (Monterrey)
Forwards: Raul Jimenez (Wolverhampton), Hirving Lozano (Napoli), Jesus Corona (Porto), Henry Martin (America), Rogelio Funes Mori (Monterrey), Alexis Vega (Chivas)
The most notable call up is the return of Raul Jimenez to the National Team. Jimenez was called up to the past World Cup Qualifiers, but did not go after his club Wolverhampton decided to not give permission as Mexico is still listed in the COVID-19 “Red Zone” by the United Kingdom. For countries in the red zone, people traveling from the country would have to do a longer quarantine to enter the UK. There are rumors that because of this, Jimenez would only be playing the first two matches, although that hasn’t been confirmed by anyone in the Mexico camp. Other notable call up is the return of Hirving Lozano, who hadn’t been called up in the past as he has just returned from the injury he sustained in the Gold Cup. A similar situation happened with Johan Vasquez, who had just arrived in Genoa and wasn’t called up for the first three matches but was called up this time.
Diego Lainez was the most notable absence, as he has had an injury and was just called up to play this week, which was probably a little too close to the matches to be called up. More surprising is the lack of a call up of Gerardo Arteaga, who is playing in Genk and who is a position where Mexico looks to be thin. Although no word yet on why he hasn’t been called up, the rumors are strong that it might have been his decision to skip on the Olympic Games Tournament. Arteaga supposedly had a family problem but played the Champions League qualifying matches with his club during the time the Olympic tournament was held.
Mexico will have two very tough home matches against a Canadian side that has been the surprise of the World Cup Qualifiers so far, and a Honduras side that had been unbeaten in two road games before a bad home loss against the United States, which forces them to need to gain points. Mexico will have the return of a home crowd after their first match against Jamaica had to be played without public because of a one game suspension given to Mexico after making the homophobic chant during the CONCACAF Olympic Tournament in Guadalajara.