Andres Guardado and Diego Reyes are among players who are in a race for fitness to make El Tri’s final squad
Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio named a 28-man squad Monday of players still in consideration to make his final 23-man World Cup team.
The manager said he was hoping to call the 23-man squad, but five factors made him include five extra players.
Injuries to players that may not clear up before next month, players in leagues with remaining matches, a week-long rest mandated by FIFA after the players’ final league match before joining up with the international squad, Mexico’s game against Wales on May 28 and continuing to build competition in the squad have led Osorio to include five players he wasn’t set to include.
“What’s clear is that if the World Cup started tomorrow, there are five players who couldn’t be there: Nestor Araujo, Diego Reyes, Andres Guardado, Jonathan dos Santos and Giovani dos Santos,” Osorio said. “Now, on the medical theme, I think there’s a space, a grey area. Our medical department is at a very high level, at an extraordinary level. It’s debatable, in some cases, the proactivity or urgency with some medical cases need to be managed.”
For instance, he said, Araujo, the Santos center back, could be called upon to play in the Liga MX final by his team, which would change his situation.
On the list and apparently ready to go is Rafa Marquez, the Mexico veteran who would make an appearance at his fifth World Cup were he to see action in Russia.
Marquez hasn’t represented El Tri since the 2017 Confederations Cup with the United States Department of Treasury designating him as a frontman for a drug kingpin in August 2017. His freedom of movement has become less restricted with his lawyers winning a number of legal battles that have cleared Marquez to join the squad.
The biggest omissions are Chivas attacker Rodolfo Pizarro, who Osorio said was in competition with players like Marco Fabian and Carlos Vela for a place and is an option for the future, and teenage midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez.
Gonzalez filed a one-time switch in January to represent Mexico rather than the U.S. but was injured in March and lost his Monterrey starting spot. His teammate, Jesus Molina, is on the preliminary squad.
Goalkeepers (3): Guillermo Ochoa (Standard), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul)
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Defenders (9): Carlos Salcedo (Eintracht Frankfurt), Nestor Araujo (Santos Laguna), Diego Reyes (Porto), Hector Moreno (Real Sociedad), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Oswaldo Alanis (Chivas), Edson Alvarez (Club America), Jesus Gallardo (Pumas), Miguel Layun (Sevilla)
Midfielders (8): Jesus Molina (Monterrey), Rafa Marquez (Atlas), Hector Herrera (Porto), Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Erick Gutierrez (Pachuca), Marco Fabian (Eintracht Frankfurt), Giovani Dos Santos (LA Galaxy)
Forwards (8): Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (West Ham United), Raul Jimenez (Benfica), Oribe Peralta (Club America), Jesus “Tecatito” Corona (Porto), Carlos Vela (LAFC), Javier Aquino (Tigres), Hirving Lozano (PSV), Jurgen Damm (Tigres)