Soccer  

Mexico name injured Raul Jimenez to World Cup squad

Mexico included Raul Jimenez in their men’s 2022 World Cup squad on Monday but had no room for Diego Lainez or Santiago Gimenez.

Manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino included stars such as Guillermo Ochoa, Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Andres Guardado, Hector Herrera and Jimenez, who recently recovered from an injury that has left him without minutes since August.

– 2022 World Cup: All squad lists for Qatar

The 26-player list was whittled down from a preliminary 31-man squad that was revealed earlier this month.

Sevilla’s Jesus “Tecatito” Corona was the first to be cut from the preliminary squad on Nov. 8 after being unable to recover in time from a fractured fibula.

By Monday, the last four cuts were Erick Sanchez, Jesus Angulo, Diego Lainez and Santiago Gimenez.

Of the four, the absences of Lainez and Gimenez are the most surprising and controversial decisions by Martino.

Although Gimenez is the current joint-top goalscorer in the 2023-24 Europa League, Martino hinted at the Feyenoord player possibly missing out on the World Cup after stating last week that the 21-year-old striker “has had few minutes” and that “sometimes, you have to look beyond the goals.”

In his place, No. 9s like Club America’s Henry Martin, Monterrey’s Rogelio Funes Mori and Jimenez were included.

As for Lainez, the risk-taking winger was an impactful substitute for Mexico in World Cup qualifying, but also someone who has severely lacked appearances with Braga in Portugal this season.

Recent reports indicated that the 22-year-old was competing for a World Cup spot with Roberto Alvarado, a less attack-minded but more well-rounded winger option that Martino seems to prefer for Qatar.

Ten players from Mexico’s 2018 World Cup roster will return in 2022: Alfredo Talavera, Hector Moreno, Edson Alvarez, Erick Gutierrez, Jesus Gallardo, Ochoa, Herrera, Guardado, Jimenez and Lozano.

With their upcoming fifth World Cup invite, Ochoa and Guardado (as well as Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Lionel Messi) will equal the tournament record for national team call-ups held by Germany’s Lothar Matthaus, Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon and fellow Mexico countrymen Antonio Carbajal and Rafael Marquez.

Mexico will have one final friendly — against Sweden (Nov. 16) at Girona, Spain’s Estadi Montilivi — before heading out to Qatar for the World Cup.

In the group stage, Martino and his men will face Poland (Nov. 22), Argentina (Nov. 26) and Saudi Arabia (Nov. 30).

Mexico’s final World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa, Rodolfo Cota, Alfredo Talavera

Defenders: Nestor Araujo, Jesus Gallardo, Gerardo Arteaga, Hector Moreno, Jorge Sanchez, Johan Vasquez, Cesar Montes

Midfielders: Erick Gutierrez, Orbelin Pineda, Hector Herrera, Carlos Rodriguez, Kevin Alvarez, Andres Guardado, Roberto Alvarado, Edson Alvarez, Luis Chavez, Uriel Antuna, Luis Romo, Hirving Lozano, Alexis Vega

Forwards: Rogelio Funes Mori, Henry Martin, Raul Jimenez