Mexico’s recent 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign in Qatar was an unmitigated disaster. Across the last seven editions of the tournament, a spell spanning 28 years, El Tri had successfully made it out of their group and into the knockout stages. That stellar run came to an abrupt end in the Arabian Gulf this winter when the Central American nation finished behind Argentina and Poland in Group C.
That result also saw the end of former Barcelona manager Tata Martino’s spell in charge of the country and a new dawn in Mexican football. Former Tigres boss Diego Cocca was appointed as the nation’s new manager last month and he will be leading Mexico forwards toward the 2026 World Cup, a tournament that the nation will partially host for the first time in 40 years. That year, the hosts reached the quarterfinals, the country’s greatest-ever performance on the world stage.
Despite the tournament still being over three years away, OddsChecker – which compares football odds and offers – makes Brazil and France the early favourites for glory in North America. But what about Mexico? Well, if they build their 2026 World Cup squad around these three players, they could go far.
According to the highly reputable TransferMarkt, Edson Álvarez is currently the most valuable Mexican player on the planet today. He has been a shining light in an Ajax team that has dominated Dutch football in recent years. Since he made the move from Club América back in 2019, the 25-year-old defensive midfielder has won back-to-back Eredivisie titles, as well as the KNVB Cup in 2021.
This term, the Amsterdam outfit has struggled somewhat. They were relegated from the Champions League to the Europa League and were subsequently dumped out of the latter competition by Union Berlin. In the Dutch top flight, they are currently six points behind league leaders Feyenoord.
But despite Ajax’s woes this term, Álvarez has been one of the few shining lights. By the time the 2026 World Cup rolls around, he will be 29 years of age and in his prime. Álvarez even managed to find the net in the 3-2 defeat against the table toppers on March 19th. He may very well be Mexico’s captain, and much of the nation’s success will rely on his broad shoulders.
Speaking of Feyenoord, there’s a reason that they are top of the Eredivisie this season, and his name is Santiago Gimenez. The 21-year-old striker has netted six times in his last eleven games for the Rotterdam outfit, including a fifth-minute opener in his side’s recent victory over Álvarez’s Ajax at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
It isn’t just in the Dutch top flight where Feyenoord’s newest hitman has impressed. He has netted 20 goals in 39 appearances in all competitions this seaon. Gimenez looks to be the club’s newest striking sensation, following in the footsteps of the likes of Dirk Kuyt and Jon Dahl Tomasson.
Gimenez has featured nine times for Mexico throughout his fledgling young career, scoring two goals in the process. He wasn’t in their squad for the recent World Cup, but Raúl Jiménez will be 35 years old when the next global showdown takes place, and so it will be the former Cruz Azul star that will be expected to lead the line. Fellow young striker Roberto de la Rosa has a lot still to prove, while Club América captain Henry Martín will also be entering the twilight of his career in 2026. Plenty of responsibility will soon fall on Gimenez, just like Edson Álvarez before him.
This list wouldn’t be complete without Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano. By the time the 2026 FIFA World Cup is here, he will be 31 years of age, but he has been the shining light in the Mexican national team for some time now, and he is also shining brightly in Italy with Napoli.
The Ciucciarelli are currently a whopping 19 points clear of second place Inter Milan are on course for a first Scudetto since the days of Diego Maradona. Only AC Milan and the winner of Inter Milan vs Benfica stand between them and a first-ever UEFA Champions League final. Lozano can almost reach out and touch Napolean immortality, and he may well achieve similar status with Mexico in three years’ time.