Mexico has named the 29 player call up list for the World Cup qualifiers to be played in March. Coach Gerardo Martino didn’t have many surprises in his call up list, which will have most of the same players and will probably gather him some heavy criticism. Mexico will close out the the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers by facing the United States on March 24 in Estadio Azteca, before traveling for their last away match against Honudras in San Pedro Sula on March 27 and then concluding their campaign with a home match in Estadio Azteca against El Salvador.
The call up list was the following:
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (America), Alfredo Talavera (Pumas), Rodolfo Cota (Leon), Jonathan Orozco (Tijuana)
Defenders: Johan Vasquez (Genoa), Nestor Araujo (Celta de Vigo), Gerardo Arteaga (KRC Genk), Cesar Montes (Monterrey), Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), Hector Moreno (Monterrey), Jesus Alberto Angulo (Tigres), Israel Reyes (Puebla), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey), Jorge Sanchez (America), Erick Aguirre (Monterrey)
Midfielders: Hector Herrera (Atletico Madrid), Edson Alvarez (Ajax), Erick Gutierrez (PSV Eindhoven), Diego Lainez (Betis), Carlos Rodriguez (Cruz Azul), Luis Romo (Monterrey), Uriel Antuna (Cruz Azul), Rodolfo Pizarro (Monterrey)
Forwards: Raul Jimenez (Wolverhampton), Jesus Corona (Sevilla), Hirving Lozano (Napoli), Santiago Gimenez (Cruz Azul), Henry Martin (America), Alexis Vega (Chivas)
The most surprising call up has to be the return of Rodolfo Pizarro to the national team. Pizarro had been missing on a call up list since he was called up to the Gold Cup as an injury reserve. After failing badly in MLS, Pizarro’s return to Liga MX with Monterrey where he really hasn’t shined and was one of the most criticized players after their painfully slow start. Another questionable call up comes from that same team as Jesus Gallardo, who normally has been one of the players most criticized because of his lackluster performances with the Mexican National Team, was called up even when he lost his place as a starter in Monterrey. Among the notable call ups is the call up of players like Israel Reyes and Jesus Alberto Angulo, who had played in friendlies but not in the qualifiers. Santiago Gimenez also makes the jump, although he had been previously called up for the first qualifying games although didn’t play a minute.
Among the controversial omissions, Javier Hernandez was once again not called up after a good start in MLS with the LA Galaxy. Hernandez is the number one scorer with the national team, and with Rogelio Funes Mori being injured Martino will have a tough time in defending that Hernandez isn’t being called up for on field performances (especially if players like Pizarro are getting called up). Besides Funes Mori, Andres Guardado is also missing from the list as he is out with an injury.
Mexico is currently sitting in third place but is tied on points with United States. Mexico will face important matches although they have the advantage that they face eliminated Honduras (who have lost five out of six games at home) and El Salvador, who will probably be eliminated by the time they face each other. Still, Mexico will have great expectations especially in the game against the United States after losing three out of three matches against their biggest rival in 2021. If Martino fails to perform well or worse yet fails to get the ticket to Qatar 2022 (either by only getting to the fourth placed playoff or elimination) it might be the end of his tenure.