Miguel Herrera announced his starting lineup in a press conference Sunday for the first of the four friendlies scheduled to prepare for the World Cup in June.
The lineup consists of: Jesus Corona, Diego Reyes, Francisco 'Maza' Rodriguez, Carlos Salcido, Miguel Layun, Paul Aguilar, Hector Herrera, Marco Fabian, Isaac Brizuela, Oribe Peralta and Cuauhtemoc Blanco.
Herrera will continue with his preferred 5-3-2 system and will most likely be looking into which players are capable of adopting his system, especially in the midfield now that his anchor, Juan Carlos Medina, will miss the tournament due to an ankle injury.
The striker pairing is another crucial piece to solve considering he has five strikers competing for two spots. Many see as Giovanni Dos Santos as a clear cut favorite to land one of the spots, considering his productive season he had with Villarreal in qualifying for European competition next season. The last spot will boil down to a duel between Peralta and Javier Hernandez in these first three friendlies with the former having the advantage in terms match sharpness. However, with Pijio Herrera stating that "everyone begins at zero," it is all up to Hernandez as to what he does with every squad member being on equal footing.
The young talents of Raul Jimenez and Alan Pulido are unlikely to pose a serious threat for a starting berth in Brazil, but they will certainly be up for the challenge to force the coaching staff into making tough decisions.
The surprise addition to the squad is that of Blanco. This upcoming match will serve as a warm goodbye to celebrate an illustrious career Blanco has managed to build, especially with El Tri. One of the top achievements with the national team came in 1999 when he led them to victory over Brazil in the final of the Confederations Cup. Herrera said he did not want to have the type of send off where Blanco gets a touch on the ball and then is subbed out so Herrera opted to have Blanco play 15 to 20 minutes. His replacement could either be Jimenez or 'Chicharito' Hernandez.