How they qualified: After winning Olympic gold at London 2012 (against Group A opponents Brazil), Mexico struggled to find anything like top gear for much of their World Cup campaign and only sneaked into the intercontinental playoffs because old rivals USA scored a late goal against Panama. Once there, and guided by new boss Manuel Herrera, who chose to select home-based players only, they routed New Zealand 9-3 on aggregate.
World Cup pedigree: Mexico have fallen in the Round of 16 at the last five attempts. Only twice have they made it to the quarter-finals, and on both occasions they were on home soil (1970 and 1986).
Main man: After flopping at Spurs, Giovani dos Santos appears to have matured. He is playing the best football of his career at Villarreal, and his creativity will be vital to the Mexican cause.
One to watch: Manchester United striker Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez is a natural predator who comes alive inside the penalty area. If he misfires, Mexico won't get out of their group. In midfield, keep an eye out for hustler Carlos Pena.
What are their chances? It all depends on that priceless commodity: goals. Mexico scored a meagre seven goals in 10 games at one stage of qualifying and though they look fairly solid at the back, you do wonder how many losing positions Chicharito will have to turn around if they are to make any progress.