World Cup Predictions

At long last , it's finally here. Years of preparation and endless debate over starting elevens had led us to the brink. Whether Mexico stands on the precipice of a disastrous fall, a glorious run of victories, or the usual round of 16 exit we don't really know.

Although, we do have some ideas. We polled some of our favorite writers with knowledge of El Tri to give us their thoughts ...


Cesar Hernandez:

 -- Predicted finish: Round of 16


I consider myself to be a realistic optimist. I recognize the fact that Mexico has a highly-talented squad but also can't look past the round of 16 where we would likely meet our end...for the sixth time in a row.

I'm confident that we will beat Cameroon, tie Brazil, and also tie Croatia in the group stage. That's right, I said we will tie Brazil. I think they will continue to underestimate Mexico and I predict a Miguel Herrera celebration for the ages after the match. That being said, there's no way that I can honestly say that Mexico will beat Spain, Holland, or even Chile in the next round. There's an incredible amount of skill on all of those squads and there's no Miguel Layun Hail Mary goal that will save us.

I've mentioned this before, but if Mexico makes it into the quarterfinals, that's a World Cup win for me there. I would celebrate in a way that even Marco Fabian would deem a bit too much for himself. Let's hope that happens.

Tom Marshall:

 -- Predicted finish: Round of 16


Considering the problems Cameroon has had in the build-up to Brazil 2014 and the positives that Mexico could take - despite the loss - from its final warm-up game against Portugal, I'd go with a 2-1 win for El Tri in its first match. 


From there, Brazil is obviously going to be difficult, but sources - last night's taxi driver being one - confirm that Mexico fans in general are confident that El Tri can come out the game with something. I think Mexico will give Brazil a good game, but the host nation's quality will be enough to hand it a 2-1 win. 


That would set up a likely decider against Croatia, which really could go either way and you have to believe will be a draw - 1-1. 

The likelihood is that those results would scrape Mexico through to the Round of 16, where the team will suffer its usual and predictable fate of going out against one of the big guns in Holland or Spain. 


Dan Price: 

 -- Predicted finish: 4th Place

I’m feeling optimistic about Mexico this summer, far more so than I am about my native England.


I actually think Mexico will top their group. Brazil are not the invincibles that some may believe, and for them the game against El Tri poses their biggest threat. Like Brazil, Mexico are a team that regularly perform in high temperatures, are used to extreme humidity and who possess the famous Latin American flair. Add those factors to the pressure that Brazil will be feeling, and it’s not impossible to see El Tri beating them. It would mean that one victory from the other two games should be enough for them to win the group.


In the Second Round a lot depends on who they play. A game against Spain or The Netherlands and it could be all over, but I fancy Chile to knock out one of the European powers and sneak through Group B in second place, thus giving them a knockout head-to-head with El Tri. Mexico will win in extra time.


In the Quarter Finals it becomes harder to predict who El Tri will play - it could be Colombia, Italy, or Uruguay - but I think it’ll be England. The English wouldn’t want to play Mexico and would much rather face a European side who would be similarly disadvantaged by the conditions. Mexico to claim a drab 1-0 victory.


It’ll all come to an end in the semis against the ruthless Germans, who will easily crush Mexico 3-0. Defeated and exhausted, Mexico will lose against Argentina for the third World Cup in a row in the third-place playoff, while Uruguay will beat Germany in the final on penalties.

Too optimistic? Nah


Jon Arnold:

  -- Predicted finish: Round of 16

I'm not really sure what to make of Mexico's chances in Group A, but the other contenders in the group are similarly enigmatic. I ascribe to the theory that host Brazil will steamroll the group. In my mind, that leaves El Tri and Croatia vying for second place with Cameroon on the outs.

Croatia has a lot of attacking creativity in Ivan Rakitić and Mario Mandžukić, Luka Modrić behind them in Niko Kovac's 4-2-3-1, but let's say their transfer-market maneuvering distracts them enough for Maza and Marquez to dispossess the duo at every opportunity. Mexico moves through to face - OK, yikes.

While the draw was probably kind to Mexico in its group placement, the Group A runner-up moves on to face the winner of a Group B that includes Spain, Chile and the Netherlands (and Australia...poor mates). It's difficult to see Miguel Herrera's men moving past any of those foes, and I expect that fifth game will remain an elusive one for Mexico.

Wiso Vazquez:

  -- Predicted finish: Quarterfinals

Although Mexico had many problems during qualifying, this will be the World Cup that all of the fans have been waiting for.

Mexico will not have the greatest of starts against Cameroon. The fast-paced African team will be too much for El Tri but Memo Ochoa will save the team and be declared as the national hero. Mexico will squeeze out with a draw.


We will have an amazing game against Brazil where we will once again dominate during most of the game but fail to get the result.  A late goal from a set play will end the game in a 1-0 loss for El Tri. The final game against Croatia will clearly be the definitive one. The good news? Croatia will suffer due to the extreme humidity and Mexico will capitalize and win the match.


Mexico will come in second from group A with 4 points only to face a Chile team that surprised the world by edging out the Netherlands and taking first place away from Spain. This is where Mexico will have one of the toughest games in the history of our futbol and defeat "La roja" in Penalties.  Mexico will make it to the famous "quinto Partido" and Piojo Herrera will have a new Super Saiyan GIF for us to share.


In the quaterfinals, Mexico will face a Euro team  where the talent will be too much for the team to handle. It will be a tough loss for El Tri but the team will exit the world cup with the honor of being amongst the top 8 in the world.


#quierocreer 


Joel Aceves:

  -- Predicted finish: Quarterfinals

Ever since Mexico’s return to the World Cup, after being banned from Italy 90, the odds-makers have predicted a timely first round exit for the Tricolor. In US 94 Mexico was in the group of death with the unlikely outcome that they finish top - which they did. France 98 saw Mexico come from behind in all three group games including a dramatic Luis Hernandez stoppage time goal to draw Holland and advance to the round of sixteen. In South Korea/Japan 02, despite facing debutants Croatia and Ecuador, the Tri were not given much of a chance, but they defied all odds and won the group. Germany 06 seems to be the only exception as the team was seeded but the Tri seemed reluctant to deviate from their script of first group suffering and struggled to qualify. In South Africa 10 it was back to basics with all three group rivals poised to have a better tourney until the goddess of fate passed the ball in the Tricolors favor just long enough to get them to the second-round.


Going into the Brazil 2014 World Cup, Mexico’s prognosis has been bleak. The team was virtually eliminated from the tourney until stoppage time goals from bitter rivals, the U.S, gifted qualification. Leading to the Tricolor’s downfall was a wanton circus of hookers, clenbuterol, and a coaching carousel with the countries best player, Carlos Vela, refusing to join the party. So another first round exit is in order. O Fortuna, like the moon you are changeable, ever waxing and waning; hateful life first oppresses and then soothes… Once again fortune smiles for Mexico as their first match rivals Cameroon have been involved in a dispute over bonuses with their football federation, threatening a strike, and even refused to travel to Brazil until their demands were met. This type of distraction has kept the “Indomitable Lions” from qualifying to the Africa Cup of Nations twice in a row and will be enough for Mexico to snatch the win. This will be followed by a loss to hosts Brazil and a draw against a worn-out Croatia to make it to the round of sixteen.


This will be Mexico’s sixth straight time in the round of sixteen and because not much was expected of the Tricolor they will perform better as they always do once the pressure is off. The Tricolor’s opponent will be Chile who win their group over Spain on goal-differential. The Chileans style of play will favour Mexico taking the match into the dreaded penalty-kick shootout. During the spot kicks Guillermo Ochoa will make a winning save and be canonized “Saint Memo” by Tricolor fans back home. Awaiting Mexico in the quarterfinals will be Italy. The match will turn into a hack-fest, with expulsions and injuries, leaving the outcome of the match to be decided by penalties. This time round Fate will pluck her vibrating string in favour of the Azzurri, “Memo” will falter, and Mexico will be eliminated. Everyone weep with me!


Stephen Eastepp:

 -- Predicted finish: Round of 16

There is a saying that a story always has two sides. When I think of Mexico, both from a fan perspective and from an objective view, that saying fits perfectly. The fan in me says Mexico is set up for a solid result in Brazil, while the other side of me can see them crashing out in disappointing fashion in the group stage. When asked to write a couple paragraphs of my expectations for this World Cup, those two conflicting sides become even more evident.

Miguel Herrera has his hands full with Mexico – but I think he’s fully capable of getting a positive result in this tournament. Mexico enters with questions around the consistency and durability of their defense, while the midfield has struggled adjusting to the injury of Luis Montes. Perhaps the most troubling issue plaguing El Tri heading into Friday’s opening match is there isn’t anyone that is successful at partnering with Oribe Peralta up front. It’s going to be a long group stage if Mexico can’t score goals.

Mexico’s fate will ultimately come down to how a handful of players perform in their next three matches. El Tri has some extreme talent on their roster – but much of it has been disappointing leading up to this World Cup.

Much of Mexico’s success hinges on Javier Hernandez, Giovani Dos Santos, Marco Fabian, and especially captain Rafael Marquez. Marquez is older and slower and can sometimes become a liability for Mexico, so his play has to be decent. Chicharito likely starts on the bench for Mexico. How he mentally adjusts to that and in turn performs for Mexico once called upon could be the difference. Fabian has resurrected his career at Cruz Azul and has proved worthy of a starting spot in my mind. If he doesn’t get it, like Hernandez, he’ll have to make the most of his role. Dos Santos is a shadow of the player who made Tim Howard and the US look ridiculous – one of my fondest memories of him.

I’d like to believe these key players will all make a positive impact in Brazil. No ridiculous red cards for Rafa, Gio will have a couple moments of magic, Fabian will earn his time on the field, and Chicharito gets back to his scoring ways. Piojo is a motivator and is capable of bring out each player’s best as he stands on the world’s biggest stage.

For Mexico, advancing past the group stage is success in my eyes.  I wouldn’t settle for anything less and that’s exactly where I think Mexico will land. Unfortunately, they are likely eliminated in the Round of 16. At least that is what one side of me believes. The other side…? You don’t want me to go into those thoughts.


Jonny Rico:   

 -- Predicted finish: Round of 16

Predicting Mexico's future at the World Cup has never been harder than what it is now for Brazil 2014. In past editions, many fans, journalist, and experts would say: quarterfinals - the infamous 5th game. 


But due to the horrible year leading up to the World Cup, the lack of time current manager Miguel Herrera has had with the squad, the predictions now range from a group stage exit to round of 16s, to even the most hopeful of people who say they'll get to the 5th game. 


For my part I'll say Mexico complete their standard participation and make it out of the group stage and will finish in the Round of 16. Mexico should have the necessary skills and motivation to rise to the occasion to get out of the group stage. But looking at the possible match ups in the second round, Spain or Holland seems to be too steep of a hill for El Tri to climb. 


Kim Tate:

 -- Predicted finish: Round of 16

I'm a little more confident in this team than I was several weeks ago, but I still have concerns. That being said, Mexico's performance against Portugal was more inspiring for me, one of the reasons being that Chicharito proved he can do more than play as a lone striker. Though he won't be starting in Brazil, he was one of few players showing signs of life and comfort assuming other roles when needed. His service (twice!) to Hector Herrera (who was superb in all areas) was an example of how he's becoming effective in other roles - something this team really needs at the moment in all of its players to be able to advance from the group, which I think it can.


Cameroon is a team they should be able to beat, so long as they don't succumb to their opponents' physicality. I see Croatia being a bit like Bosnia and this Mexico XI should be able to handle them well. They'll match up against Brazil also. It's a team they're familiar with, but Mexico's midfield versus that of Brazil's is another area of concern. They need better finishing and more cohesion in the midfield for a chance at three points against the host team. Beating Cameroon is crucial - it will set the stage for them ahead of playing Brazil and Croatia. 


I see Mexico and Brazil getting out of Group A, with Brazil being the favorite of the two to advance beyond the Round of 16. 


Sergio Tristan:


 -- Predicted finish: Quarterfinals


So much pessimism, everyone is doubting Miguel Herrera and his team. I am not a doubter. This is our tournament. This is the tournament where our 2005 U17 World Cup winner generation takes us to the 5th game, at a minimum. Giovani Dos Santos will have the breakout tournament we have all expected and due for a player of such potential. He will carry this team, mark my words. 


Mexico will come out second in the group, Brazil is just too strong. I predict a draw against Cameroon, a loss against home country Brazil, and a uplifting win against Croatia. It's the 3rd game where Mexico will obtain the momentum that will carry it far into the tournament. The media backlash will be huge after the draw to Cameroon, the country will turn on the team after the loss to Brazil, but the team will not fade. NOT THIS TIME! Rafa Marquez will pull it together, he will lead us to a decisive win against Croatia and into the 2nd round. 


As the 2nd place team from Group A the Mexican team will meet the group B winner. The obvious choice is Spain as group leader, but I am not an obvious man. I believe Chile wins out! The dutch are overrated. Australia fills a slot. Spain? Too banged up. This group belongs to a strong Chile team! So Mexico's opponent in the 4th game will be Chile. A perfect opponent for Miguel Herrera and company. A South American opponent, not physically over powering, that Mexico can overcome with a decent game. 


The 5th game opponent will be the winner of group D and second of group C. Italy will meet Mexico in the infamous game 5. Clearly winning out in group D and then climbing over a Japan from group C. The Italian team will defeat Mexico, with some strong play, but it doesn't matter. El Tri makes the 5th game, the bad streak is broken and the future is bright. 



Jason Marquitz:

 -- Predicted finish: Group stage exit

Some people see the big event on the horizon and get excited for the possibilities. Others, like me, imagine all the potential disasters regardless of their feasibility.

Don't get me wrong. Mexico could get through the group stage in Brazil. Croatia and Cameroon are not going to be easy, but they are hardly insurmountable. Mexico has enough talent on their roster to give Brazil a tough match, as well as gaining wins from the others. I just don't see it happening. In my storm cloud of a head, I can clearly see the lack of scoring. A frustrated front line fails on the few attempts generated and the aging defense gives up too many shots to a younger and faster opposition.

History tells us that Mexico will lose to Spain, Chile, or the Netherlands in the round of sixteen. My pessimism screams that this group stage is setting up to be much more disappointing.  I want nothing more than to be wrong. 


** the photo is used under a Creative Commons license from Boris G

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