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World Cup Fantasy Preview: Mexico

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The Mexican national team made it very hard on themselves in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup finals, having to depend on a play-off game against New Zealand to secure their spot among the last 32. Is there any reason to believe they'll turn it all around in a tough Group A?

You knew Chicharito was going to be in this photo, didn't you?
You knew Chicharito was going to be in this photo, didn't you?
Kevork Djansezian

I must admit, writing some of these previews from a fantasy perspective is going to be more difficult than others based on my knowledge of certain players, especially those playing their club football outside of Europe. If I miss anyone from this group or another team with fewer recognizable names, please help me out if you can! 

Coach Miguel Herrera has already chosen his 23-man squad for Brazil. Here's who made the plane:

Goalkeepers

Jose Corona, Guillermo Ochoa, Alfredo Talavera

Defenders

Paul Aguilar, Miguel Layun, Rafael MarquezHector Moreno, Diego Reyes, Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Salcido

Midfielders

Isaac Brizuela, Marco Fabian, Andres Guardado, Hector Herrera, Juan Carlos Medina, Luis Montes, Carlos Pena, Jose Juan Vazquez

Forwards

Giovani dos Santos, Javier Hernandez, Raul Jimenez, Oribe Peralta, Alan Pulido

Fantasy Players To Watch

Diego Reyes - A regular starter under Herrera, the 6'4" center back is very good in the air and has scored a number of headed goals for both club and country. 

Andres Guardado - Spending the second half of the 2013-2014 domestic campaign on loan at Bayer Leverkusen, the veteran left back is also well-versed further up the pitch and should be seen bombing up the flanks at every available opportunity. His crossing ability is dangerous, so assists are definitely a possibility even if a clean sheet is unlikely.

Marco Fabian - The Cruz Azul winger is a natural goalscorer for his club and, given the majority of the national team is comprised of players from LigaMX (the Mexican First Division), his style of play should mesh well with his teammates. Capable of a few lapses in discipline, however, so beware the card risk.

Giovani dos Santos - The promising attacker's career never really took off during his time with Tottenham Hotspur, but the potential has always been apparent. He's enjoyed more success since moving away from the Premier League and should be the creative force in Mexico's midfield.

Raul Jimenez - The strike force for El Tri is likely to gain the most interest from a fantasy standpoint, and Jimenez is a man in form, having scored 26 goals for Club America since 2013. Herrera has included him regularly since he took over as manager in October of last year.

Oribe Peralta - Another hot commodity right now is Jimenez's future strike partner at Club America, after Peralta was signed this month to become the most expensive transfer in LigaMX history. His impressive goal tally also earned him the CONCACAF Player of the Year crown in 2013. 

Javier Hernandez - The most recognizable name in Mexican football history, Chicharito has been an impressive--if underutilized--member of the Manchester United team since joining a few seasons ago. Even with limited playing time for the Red Devils, the striker has managed to score 59 times. As we've seen, he's dangerous in the air and always seems to find himself in the right place at the right time to put the ball in the back of the net.