United supporters will be eagerly watching new signing Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez's exploits for Mexico at the World Cup. To shed some light on their expectations, we caught up with Guadalajara-based journalist Tom Marshall, from Rochdale, for his thoughts...
How excited is Mexico, as a nation, about the World Cup?
Very excited. This is the first time I’ve been outside of England for a World Cup, and the excitement is comparable. TV adverts, plenty of press coverage around the friendlies and analysing every aspect of the team. Apart from that Mexico has had a bad 18 months with its economy, the swine flu epidemic, violence in certain parts of the country to do with drug gangs, so the World Cup is a great distraction for the country.
How far do they expect to progress?
If you look at the history of Mexico, they almost always get to the second round of the World Cup, and when they hosted it they got to the quarter-finals. It’s hard to predict, but I would imagine they’ll go through until they play a top team. There’s a chance they could face Argentina in the second round, at which point you’d expect them to go out. But if they play well, they have a chance of winning their group and I can’t see why not. France are awful at the minute by all accounts, and the first game against South Africa is massive. Win that, and they get a head start in the group. I think they’ll do alright.
They’ve played a lot of preparatory friendlies - do you think they’ll benefit?
They’ve not been playing their first XI all the time. They played England and Holland in the space of three days, with entirely different teams fielded. So you don’t get a proper perspective of the strongest team. I think they’re still experimenting with formations and there are certain positions up for grabs.
What is their style of play?
They usually go 4-3-3 and against Holland they had Chicharito as the focal point in attack, alongside Carlos Vela and Giovanni dos Santos, and the team played really well. They looked excellent going forward and for me that’s what they should go for, because it’s a young, exciting forward line. If they go the other way and start with Blanco and Franco, you know what you’ll get from them but they’re not inspirational. All three of the young forwards have points to