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Unnecessary ruckus over Martino’s 26-man World Cup roster selection

Was Martino’s final list announcement earlier today really that life-changing?


Earlier today (noon CT to be exact), the Mexican National Team announced ‘Tata’ Martino’s final 26-man roster travelling with him to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. It’s been weeks of anticipation as the list has gotten progressively shorter, to the point where there were 31 players left, meaning 5 would be cut by today. Now, is it really necessary to drag the decision date until the very last possible moment? I don’t think it is, but Mexico has done this for years now, so everybody knew the rules prior to the fact.

With the injury to Jesús ‘Tecatito’ Corona weeks ago, he was the first player crossed off that list, so in reality there were only four players left to cross off, and they ended up being who everyone expected it would; Jesús Angulo, Erick Sánchez, Diego Lainez, and Santi Giménez. While the first two went in an uneventful manner, the latter two (especially Giménez) caused a nationwide commotion. And I mean COMMOTION; media analysts and people everywhere posting as if this was a life-altering, ground-breaking, extraordinary decision. In a bad way of course. And if you’re on social media at all, you know they have been for the past weeks now. Today it was simply made official. Therefore the extra hype.

The reason Giménez wasn’t considered is because of the presence of Raúl Jiménez, Rogelio Funes Mori, and Henry Martin. Now, just for starters, I completely agree Santi Giménez should be on that roster. If it were up to me, I’d take him in Martin’s spot. But hey, that’s a coaching call. And in the end, you’ll never make everyone happy. This is more of a preference call, and since he’s the coach, he gets to make that call. Period.

And yes, Santi Giménez is currently playing at a high level, is scoring goals, and is looking stronger on the pitch each time. But in the end, he hasn’t done it enough consistently or at the NT level for anyone to be able to make such a sure claim about him. Would Giménez even be used if taken? If so, how would he be used? Would he have chemistry with his teammates? I mean, the kid has only played in 9 NT matches (7 of them friendlies) for Pete’s sake. He barely has any official game experience anyway. Would this not be rushing it? Again, he’d be on my roster, but there is an argument to be made as to why he isn’t on Martino’s.

But enough with the drama already. It’s not like we’re the Brazilian NT or the Germans here, where you could potentially have two or three just as good world class options. No offense for any of the Mexican NT strikers, but do fans really think any of these dudes will make a difference up top? Will any of them lead Mexico to a deep World Cup run or make any difference for that matter? Ín case you are actually wondering, the answer is NO, they won’t. I can’t even see Mexico getting out of the group, let alone a deep run.

Does this change Mexico’s ultimate outcome? Would Giménez score a goal on Poland? Would he score 3 or 4 on Argentina (which is what we’d probably need to beat them)? How would he top a much more experienced and proven Raúl Jiménez (Yes, even if he hasn’t played an official match since August 31st)? And despite Funes Mori’s horrible form of late combined with Martin’s unproven NT track record, they are of Martino’s liking in the end. And that’s it. Just like that, we’re out of options (please don’t get started with Chicharito). So there really wasn’t much to choose from to start with, was there?

This is the most talent-deprived World Cup squad in decades, so in the grand scheme of things, a single player won’t really make much of a difference, unless you’re talking an impactful enough player, such as Carlos Vela for instance, which in this case, obviously is not.

One last hope for Giménez

There is one way in which Giménez could be included last minute, and that the media say Martino is keeping close to the vest. Here it is: under the official FIFA World Cup rules, if a player is injured and said injury forces him to miss the entire cup, as long as it’s still 24 hours prior to the opening match, the team can still substitute the injured player. That would be the case for Raúl Jiménez and Santi Giménez if Raúl is ultimately unable to go come next Monday. Raúl would probably have to have surgery to confirm he can’t go in the next month, but that would be an option. ‘Chaquito’ will be on call if that does ultimately go down.