June 20, 2011

Group B Preview: Mexico

Mexico (#22)
Region: Concacaf
Coach: Leonardo Cuellar
How They Qualified: Finished in 2nd Place in Concacaf Region Qualifying.
Prior Cups:
2007: DNQ
2003: DNQ
1999: Group Stage
1995: DNQ
1991: DNQ
Roster (Average Age: 23.50)
Cecilia SantiagoGKLaguna1611/0
Pamela TajonarGKAtletico Malaga2636/0
Erika VanegasGKNone2213/0
Monica AlvaradoDFTexas Christian Univ.205/0
Natalie GarciaDFUniv of San Diego213/0
Alina GarciamendezDFStanford2017/1
Kenti RoblesDFEspanyol2012/0
Rubi SandovalDFNone2770/5
Luz SaucedoDFNone2791/2
Natalie VintiDFUniv of San Diego2320/0
Dinora GarzaMFTigres2330/9
Juana LopezMFNone32102/14
Liliana MercadoMFUDLA Puebla2211/0
Teresa NoyolaMFStanford217/0
Nayeli RangelMFTigres1927/3
Guadalupe WorbisMFITESEM Puebla2795/22
Charlyn CorralFWITESM Monterey1919/3
Maribel DominguezFWL’Estartit3290/67
Stephany MayorFWUDLA Puebla1916/5
Monica OcampoFWNone2436/12
Veronica PerezFWNone2323/4

Recent Matches:
6/20/11AustraliaFriendlyL 2-3
6/16/11SwedenFriendlyL 0-2
6/5/11USAFriendlyL 0-1
5/20/11Costa RicaFriendlyW 4-1
5/18/11Costa RicaFriendlyW 3-0
4/24/11ColombiaFriendlyW 4-2
4/22/11ColombiaFriendlyW 3-2
3/9/11New ZealandCyprusW 5-0
3/7/11Northern IrelandCyprusW 3-1
3/4/11Korea RepublicCyprusT 1-1
3/2/11RussiaCyprusT 0-0
12/19/10HollandSao PauloL 1-2
12/15/10HollandSao PauloL 1-3
12/12/10CanadaSao PauloL 0-1
12/9/10BrazilSao PauloL 0-3
11/8/10CanadaConcacafL 0-1
11/5/10USAConcacafW 2-1
11/2/10CanadaConcacafL 0-3
10/31/10Trinidad & TobagoConcacafW 2-0
10/29/10GuyanaConcacafW 7-2
10/21/10Chinese TaipeiPeace CupW 1-0
10/17/10AustraliaPeace CupL 1-3

The last time that Mexico played in the Women’s World Cup was in 1999, when it was played in the United States. Maribel Dominguez was a member of that team that lost all three matches in the group stage. Dominguez scored the only goal that Mexico would get in the 1999 World Cup. Now 12 years later, she has seen a Mexican team evolve into one that can truly be competitive against the best in the world.

It’s not just the 2-1 upset that Mexico pulled over the United States in Concacaf Qualifying, although that’s certainly one that made people take notice. They have played very well against several top sides in 2010 and 2011. Most recently, in three friendlies, they lost by one goal the United States, two to Sweden and one to Australia, a match that they led 2-0 35 minutes into the match.

Before that, they swept a pair of matches against Colombia, another World Cup qualifier for 2011. They also performed very well at the Cyprus Cup, earning two wins and two draws, including a 5-0 victory over yet another qualifier New Zealand, a team they will meet again in Group B in Germany. They will not be taken lightly by their opponents anymore.

They’ve upset good teams and played competitive against nearly everyone. Can they take it one level higher? If the cards fall right, they might just make it to the quarterfinals.

While the team has some veterans like Dominguez, Evelyn Lopez, Luz Saucedo, Rubi Sandoval, and Guadalupe Worbis, this team is mostly made up of younger players. They have 14 players that are 23 years old and younger, many of them American college students. Alina Garciamendez, Teresa Noyola, Natalie Garcia, and Monica Alvarado all play college soccer in the US. Natalie Vinti and Veronica Perez recently finished up their college eligibility.

Dominguez is still their best offensive weapon. At age 32, she can still score goals in bunches. She plays very smart and seems to have a good sense of when and how to make her runs at the goal. But the younger generation has come on lately, especially Dinora Garza, Stephany Mayor, and Perez. Nayeli Rangel is another player to watch in the midfield.

Mexico has three solid goalkeeping options to choose from, including veteran Pam Tajonar and Erika Vanegas, who was in goal for the upset over the US. But 16-year old Cecilia Santiago may be the one to watch. She has been very sharp in several of the pre-Cup matches and is probably now considered Mexico’s number one keeper.

With such a young team, the future may be four years away for Mexico to really go deep into the tournament. Still, they have improved rapidly over the past year and they should be very competitive in Group B. They’ve already shown they can beat New Zealand. If they can perhaps get a win and a tie in the group stage, they might make it to the quarterfinals.

Note: Some information for this article was obtained on www.fifa.com and www.femexfut.org.mx.