Can Mexico win the 2014 World Cup?

Updated: October 4, 2012, 2:42 PM ET
By Eric Gomez and Tom Marshall

Go back to the 2010 World Cup, and the question of whether Mexico could legitimately win in South Africa would have been scoffed at by all but the most die-hard fans of El Tri.

But times have changed quickly. The recent gold medal at the London Olympics for El Tri, the multiple under-17 World Cup victories and a third-place finish at the 2011 under-20 World Cup have made people all over the world sit up and take notice of the progression in Mexican soccer.

So how much of a legitimate possibility is it that Mexico can achieve what would be by far the nation's greatest sporting achievement and lift the famous trophy in 2014?

Insider's newest El Tri bloggers, Tom Marshall and Eric Gomez, debate the merits of both sides of the big question: Does Mexico have a genuine chance to win the World Cup in 2014?

Why Mexico can win the World Cup

There's a narrative that says Mexico is building to a crescendo on the back of a Golden Generation that has already delivered three major youth titles in seven years. It's a storyline that seems to have more traction outside the country than within it.

"You just have to think that only a few years ago, it was unthinkable that Spain could win a World Cup and two straight Euros," said Pep Guardiola at an event in Mexico City in late September.

The quote delivered by Pep -- a guy who knows a bit about winning -- was a clear allusion to the fact that Mexico's mindset is intimately linked to any future success, but it seems to apply more to the fans and media off the pitch than the players on it.

Still, this unprecedented success is pointing toward a clear endgame. Mexico is ready and able to win the World Cup in 2014.

While history will point to countries such as Nigeria, which have dominated youth tournaments with ease in previous generations, as proof that success at the lower levels does not necessarily translate into glory at the senior level, Mexico is already making a strong case for the opposite.

Just two years ago, Mexican manager Javier Aguirre had to rely on burned out has-beens such as Adolfo Bautista and 37-year-old Cuauhtemoc Blanco to get past opponents in South Africa. Today, the plethora of young stars moving up the ranks means that by the time 2014 rolls around, current manager Jose Manuel de la Torre will have a much nicer problem on his hands: too much talent.