Mexico stumbled over the line in their pursuit of a place at Brazil 2014. The Mexican Football Association (FEMEXFUT) sacked three coaches – Jose Manuel Chepo de la Torre, Luis Fernando Tena and Victor Manuel Vucetich – in a dramatic Hexagonal phase of qualifying that included only the side’s second defeat at the Estadio Azteca in 77 qualifying matches and a last-gasp Raul Jimenez bicycle kick to beat Panama.

Ahead of the intercontinental play-off against New Zealand, El Tri affectively sent a plea to Club de Futbol America, Mexico’s biggest club, who loaned the country their coach, Miguel Herrera. Controversially, El Piojo only selected domestic-based players, leaving European-based stars out entirely. Initially it was just “mission accomplished”’ Herrera stated in the aftermath of a humbling build-up to the tournament, but there is too much talent in the squad to quell expectations back home for too long.

A disciple of legendary coach Ricardo La Volpe, Herrera, with a 5-3-2 formation, insists on intense pressure high up the pitch in addition to controlling possession. While an attractive style may take time to implement, prolific striker Oribe Peralta has been the predominant factor in saving Mexico’s dismal campaign. The forward is a guaranteed starter, but Herrera would ideally like to pair him with Javier’s Hernandez to forge a formidable partnership, despite the Manchester United FC forward’s inconsistent form.

COACH >>

MIGUEL HERRERA

A fiery character, Herrera can come an entertaining figure at press conferences. Heavily influenced by former Mexico coach Ricardo La Volpe, he prefers attacking full-backs and deploys a libero a part of a back five. He led Club de Futbol America to the Clausura title in the Mexican top division last year.

Fixtures Group A

Cameroon
Natal 14 June 2014

Brazil
Fortaleza 18 June 2014

Croatia
Recife 24 June 2014

*Dates are AEST

Tournament history
Previous tournaments: 14

2010 FIFA World Cup performance
Round of 16

Best performance
Quarter-finals, 1970, 1986

How they qualified
Fourth, CONCACAF group
Beat New Zealand in play-offs