Mexico have a major test at this year's World Cup and it is to live up to their number 17 world ranking and push past the group stage for the first time in five attempts.

El Tri have lost five of their past 16 World Cup finals matches which in theory doesn't sound too bad but in the sport's biggest tournament it just doesn't cut it.

With a vastly ageing squad littered with young guns, Mexico are in a good position to achieve Round of 16 status in South Africa and really should qualify in a group that does not offer a hell of a lot of difficulty.

The opening match against the hosts is now seen as a danger game especially as the hopes of a nation will be resting on the shoulders of Bafana Bafana but Javier Aguirre's men are talented enough to defeat all three teams in their group - it's just a matter of if they come to play or just enjoy the scenery.


Playing schedule: South Africa (Johannesburg) June 11; France (Polokwane) June 17; Uruguay (Rustenburg) June 22

Also known as: El Tri Manager: Javier Aguirre (MEX) Captain:Rafael MarquezKey players:Javier Hernandez, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Rafael Marquez, Andres Guardado Wildcard:Carlos VelaPlayer to watch: Giovani dos SantosMost caps: Claudio Suarez (178). Of this squad: Cuauhtemoc Blanco (117) Top goalscorer: Jared Borgetti (46) Of this squad: Cuauhtemoc Blanco (38) FIFA ranking: 17 Qualifying: 2nd in CONCACAF group stage Appearance: 14th Best result: Quarter-finals - 1970 & 1986

Mexico squad


Oscar Perez (Chiapas) Guillermo Ochoa (America) Luis Ernesto Michel (Guadalajara)


Rafael Marquez (Barcelona) Ricardo Osorio (Stuttgart) Francisco Rodriguez (PSV Eindhoven) Carlos Salcido (PSV Eindhoven) Hector Moreno (AZ Alkmaar) Paul Aguilar (Pachuca) Efrain Juarez (Pumas UNAM) Jonny Magallon (Guadalajara) Jorge Torres Nilo (Atlas)


Andres Guardado (Deportivo La Coruna) Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul) Israel Castro (Pumas UNAM) Giovani dos Santos (Tottenham)


Pablo Barrera (Pumas UNAM) Adolfo Bautista (Guadalajara) Alberto Medina (Guadalajara) Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Veracruz) Carlos Vela (Arsenal) Javier Hernandez (Manchester United) Guillermo Franco (West Ham)