Manager: Luis Fernando Tena
Group: C (with Chile, Uruguay and Peru)
Copa America title betting odds: 50/1
Qualifying for quarter-finals odds: 17/20
Group winner odds: 7/1
Finishing in the top two in group odds: 7/4
Copa America 2007 performance: Third
Best Copa America performance: Runners-up (1993, 2001)
How are they shaping up?
Mexico arrive in Argentina on the crest of a wave having stormed to victory in the Gold Cup. Their 4-2 win over USA in the final of the competition helped them move up 19 places to number nine in the latest Fifa rankings, putting them back into the top ten for the first time since July 2007.
Now ranked higher than Argentina, Mexico are nevertheless 50-1 outsiders to win the tournament, making them joint-seventh favourites. The lengthy odds can be attributed to the fact that, instead of sticking with the successful Gold Cup-winning squad, Mexico will be competing in the Copa America with a group of under-22 players along with a handful of more senior internationals. Even the coach will be different, with Jose Manuel de la Torre’s assistant Luis Fernando Tena taking the helm.
To make matters worse, Mexico have also chosen to suspend eight of their players for disciplinary reasons. Israel Jimenez, Nestor Vidrio, Jonathan dos Santos, Marco Fabian, Jorge Hernandez, Javier Cortes, David Cabrera and Nestor Calderon were all ordered back to Mexico after an investigation into allegations of theft at the players’ hotel uncovered a prostitution scandal. CCTV footage showed prostitutes being ushered to the players’ rooms, with those involved having apparently made a full confession.
With such a weakened side, Mexico will have their work cut out just to make it past the group stages.
Giovani dos Santos Caps: 45 Goals: 11
In a Mexico squad shorn of stars, Giovanni dos Santos is one of the few included players who will be known to the average football betting fan in the UK thanks to his appearances in the Premier League, Championship and 2010 World Cup. A forgotten man at Spurs having been loaned out to Ipswich Town, Galatasaray and Racing Santander over the last three years, Dos Santos has made just a handful appearances for the Lilywhites since moving to north London from Barcelona in 2008.
However, the five goals in 16 league appearances he scored for Racing Santander at the end of last season hint at the talent Harry Redknapp has largely overlooked, as does Fifa’s decision to name Dos Santos runner-up to Germany’s Thomas Muller for the 2010 World Cup young player of the tournament award.
With Dos Santos playing a starring role in Mexico’s Gold Cup win – he scored two goals against Cuba and a spectacular chip in the final against the USA – this could be the 22-year-old’s chance to finally convince Redknapp of his potential or else earn himself a move to a club more appreciative of his talents.
While Mexico’s youngsters do not lack for talent, they fall well short in terms of experience. As such, they are likely to struggle to finish in the top two of their group, as odds of 7/4 attest, never mind win the mini-league at odds of 7/1. Indeed, with El Tricolor’s group also containing joint-third favourites for the tournament Chile and Uruguay, they could even find it difficult to earn enough points to make it to the quarter-final stage as one of the two best-placed third teams. Nevertheless, those who think otherwise can bet on Mexico to reach the last eight at odds of 17/20 with bwin.
Verdict: Eliminated after group stage