World Cup 2022 Group C: Mexico need to get forwards firing to break last-16 hoodoo

Manager Gerardo Martino desperate for return of injured star striker Raul Jimenez

Mexico striker Raul Jimenez, left, in a World Cup 2022 qualifying game against Panama in February, 2022. AP
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Mexico have advanced from the group stage in their last seven World Cups, but have not won a last-16 match since 1986. Will this be the year Mexico overcome their hoodoo?

Gerardo Martino’s side have hit a poor run of form in recent months that has seen them win just one of five games, which includes a surprising 1-0 defeat at home to Paraguay and a 3-0 trouncing by Uruguay.

However, it is not all doom and gloom for Mexico who were impressive in qualifying, finishing second in Concacaf qualifying. While they do not have stars of the magnitude of Lionel Messi or Robert Lewandowski, they do possess consistent performers.

Wolves striker Raul Jimenez has been impressive for Mexico but is currently sidelined with injury. Jimenez has also not been the same player since his head injury, which is a huge concern for his manager, with Martino long since stating his desire to build his team around the striker.

Mexico’s front three of Hirving Lozano, Jimenez and Jesus Manuel Corona look dangerous on paper, with all three impressing for their clubs in the recent past, but for Mexico it has proved to be a different story.

Mexico's manager Gerardo Martino shouts instructions to his players. AP

When they played together in qualifying, they did not manage a single goal as a trio. If Martino can find a way to get the threesome firing, they could prove pivotal in Mexico making it out of the group.

While Argentina are likely to be a formidable opponent in Group C, Mexico are no strangers to pulling off a World Cup upset. You only have to look back to 2018 where they shocked the world and managed to run out 1-0 winners against holders Germany.

Mexico have every chance of getting themselves through the group phase, but they need to find a way to get their forwards firing.

Manager: Gerardo Martino

Star player: Raul Jimenez

One to watch: Hirvang Lozano

World Cups appeared in: 1930, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1978, 1986, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018

Fixtures: Nov 22 - Mexico v Poland; Nov 26 - Argentina v Mexico; Nov 30 - Saudi Arabia v Mexico

Updated: September 28, 2022, 8:57 AM
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