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Mexico to show World Cup credentials against New Zealand

| 13.11.2013

It’s been argued that Mexico national team coach Miguel Herrera is taking too big a risk by refusing to call up European-based players for El Tri’s two-legged 2014 World Cup qualifier against New Zealand.

Manchester United striker Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez has scored four times for the Red Devils this season – despite only starting five matches in all competitions – and ought to be considered a great asset to his national side.

Former Spurs man Giovani Dos Santos has already matched the six-goal haul he achieved at Mallorca last season for new club Villarreal this term, but the 24-year-old has also been excluded from Herrera’s plans.

Sociedad forward Carlos Vela’s self-imposed exile from the team compounds the feeling that they are somewhat shorthanded in attack, but Mexico are no mugs – especially at home – and New Zealand come into this match as deserved 12/1 outsiders.

Mexico to win with a one-goal handicap @ 6/10

La Verde finished behind USA, Costa Rica and Honduras in the final group stage of North, Central America and Caribbean 2014 World Cup qualifying whereas New Zealand went unbeaten in Oceania, winning eight of their nine matches.

However, according to FIFA world rankings the best team the All Whites faced in qualifying were the 126th-placed New Caledonia.

Ricki Herbert’s side couldn’t see off the 171st-placed Solomon Islands, who earned a 1-1 draw in Honiara in June 2012, and are shorn of their captain and arguably best player – West Ham centre-half Winston Reid – due to injury.

Against that record, recent Mexico wins at home to Finland, Panama and the Ivory Coast start to look like very solid form and the hosts have won five of their last six games at the Estadio Azteca.

Even with only Liga MX players in the side, Mexico will be too strong for their visitors and will win with something to spare.

Over 1.5 second-half goals @ 4/5

New Zealand have been off-colour in front of goal since the start of last summer, scoring just once in four matches against football luminaries Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Trinidad.

Their quest to reach a second World Cup in succession looks likely to end in a whimper rather than a bang against Mexico, who have struck 11 times in their last four home games.

The second-halves of those four clashes produced at least two goals on each occasion and a repeat of that stat in this match appeals at just under even money.

Santos Laguna striker Oribe Peralta has hit the mark in each of Mexico’s last three outings and former Barcelona stalwart and captain Rafael Marquez grabbed his 13th goal in 114 internationals last time out against Finland.