It should be several years but it ends just after a year and a couple of days. The FM20 story and the part with the Mexican national team is over after the World Cup 2030. I don’t have enough time and energy to play more of this edition and the best outcome is to end this story on high. I wrote on high despite the last match of the whole FM20 was a defeat. The one and only competitive defeat as a Mexican national team manager.
The World Cup 2030 was hosted by Italy. France won the final tournament in Qatar in 2022 after they beat Italy in the final and Brazil won the third-place match.
Argentina beat Spain in the final in 2026 and Italy took the third-place medal as the tournament was hosted by 3 nations – the USA, Canada and Mexico.
The Mexican national team was 10th in the world rankings. What about the previous two World Cups?
- 2022 – 3rd place in the group stage with 2 points for two draws in a group with Colombia (won all three matches), Germany and Australia.
- 2026 – lost to Portugal in the Third round – won the group with Russia and Japan, beat South Korea in the second round.
The best result of the World Cup history remained the Quarter Final in 1970 and 1986. Something to beat?
My World Cup squad was almost ready even before the official announcement. I decided to go with the players I’ve used in the previous year.
But despite the fact I was already decided about the main core of the squad, I added some youngsters (read = surprising/shocking names) to the preliminary squad but they didn’t make the final squad.
The final squad contained 10 current or former Celaya players (6+4). The key players were Rivera, Infante, Pineda and Ríos.
Edson Álvarez remained the team captain as he is the most capped current player with 156 matches before the tournament. And he was also the main central central defender from our three at the back formation.
The central defender Inés Blanco from Atlas Guadalajara was the only one player from the final squad without a single match for the national team.
I like to use the comparison screens within the game quite a lot during my saves. It’s nothing I write about too much, it’s mainly as I’m interested what’s going on and check these screens time from time.
So I did the same before the World Cup. The average age of our squad was 24.26, the average of all teams was 27.11, Italy with 30.26 as the highest average age. Hong Kong the lowest with 21.8.
Some of the young players who didn’t make the final squad would improve some of our mental attributes average value like leadership or teamwork but we still were above the average in most of the areas.
What was surprising to me, was the comparison of the technical attributes as I would say most of my players would be better than average. But the rest of the nations probably have better players.
Our group stage consisted of Mexico, Uruguay and Ireland. Our first match was against Uruguay and they had to win as they lost 2-3 to Ireland in their first group stage match.
And they were 2-0 up after 33 minutes against us but our youngest player Jonatan Arenas levelled the score before the half-time and Ruben Gonzalez scored the winning goal in the 53rd minute. It meant a 3-2 win despite Infante was sent off in the 60th minute.
Uruguay was out of the competition and it was only between us and Ireland who will win the group. We lost another central defender very soon as Juan Manuel Briones was sent off after 3 minutes.
We switched to 4-4-1 from 3-4-3 for the rest of the match and thanks to a very patient display we won 2-0 and finished first in the group.
The first place in the group meant we face Croatia in the Second Round of the tournament as they finished 2nd in the group M behind Ecuador and ahead of DR Congo.
It was Serrano’s match – our DLP(S) – who scored three goals within the first half, two of them after two different corner routines. It was 4-1 after the first 45 minutes and the captain Álvarez missed a penalty too. The final result 5-1 for Mexico.
We faced Spain the Third Round – Ansu Fati, Marcus Llorente or Dani Olmo in the squad. We had to play without Infante against Croatia and Spain due to a red card against Uruguay as he got three-match ban.
His backup, Jaime Rodríguez, scored after a corner. Bernardo Arana equalised but our PF(D) Ignacio de la Rosa (RBS striker) sent us to the quarter final.
Ignacio scored also against Denmark in the quarter final and Pineda scored our second. Our main WB on the right side. And the one I retrained from winger to this more defensive role in Celaya before he left to Atlético Madrid for €26.5M.
The semi against Holland was probably the toughest match of all as we had to make several tweaks agains their 4-4-2. Including moving our WB back down.
But we beat them after penalties 6-5 and made it to the final.
The final match against Portugal offered us another option of the comparison.
- Age: 24.35 vs. 29.22
- Ø International Caps: 37 vs. 63
- Average Player Value: €18.25M vs. €49M
- Slightly better in Work Rate & Teamwork
We were not favourites for the final. Same as in all previous rounds. They played 4-4-2. Same as Holland in the semi. And it was hard against it. Especially in wide areas despite I have here wing backs + three central defenders.
Dojaquez and Serrano hit the post in the first half but we didn’t have luck and the first half ended goalless.
The second half started with the penalty kick for Portugal. They missed it. Probably fair-play from their player. The gif below shows foul.
But it took only four more minutes before they opened the score and they scored also the second one in 71st minute – Monteiro & Sá Lemos with the goals.
José Manuel Dojaquez makes it 1-2 in 90+2. And Arenas went alone in 93:26 but he didn’t equalise. And we lost the final 1-2.
I wanted to pick a couple of players which took my eye(s) during the World Cup from several reasons.
Troy Parrott – Ireland – striker. Current club: Manchester United.
This guy was the main Ireland man and his development is surprising to me. He moved to Bologna (€7.75M) from Tottenham in 2023. He joined AC Milan for €95M two years later and Manchester United for €133M in 2027.
We kept him quiet, he scored three goals in three matches in the World Cup.
Sebas Mauri – Ecuador – winger. Current club: Juventus FC.
Four matches, two goals and three assists. And three awards for the man of the match + 8.08 average rating. Ecuador lost to England in the Third Round, I’m sure Sebas would score against us if we would play with them instead of Ireland.
José María Rivera – Mexico – goalkeeper. Current club: Liverpool.
I have to include this keeper despite he is my own. I still can’t believe this guy was not even in the national pool when I joined the national team.
He became my number #1 immediately and he also earned the big move from Monterrey to Liverpool before the World Cup.
Rivera proved his qualities during the tournament with many great saves.
Afonso Sá Lemos – Portugal – striker. Current club: FC Barcelona.
This Portuguese striker scored 8 goals and made 2 assists in 7 matches within the World Cup. One of the goals was also in the final against us. He is just great.
I would be able to share a lot of players here, mainly newgens for sure as we are already in 2030 and there is plenty of them with incredible attributes. But this is enough I think.
What happened to Celaya in 2030?
Celaya appointed Guram Kashia (Georgia) as their new manager in December 2029 after the failure in the Apertura 2029.
They finished the 2029/2030 season with €60M invested into new players. They received €45.5M from outgoing transfers.
Celaya finished 2nd in the Clausura table under the new manager just one point behind Querétaro FC. But they lost to Club América in the play-off quarter final and their season ended.
But the 2nd place was a big improvement in comparison with the Apertura. And that’s it. No more news about Celaya…
As I wrote at the beginning, the aim was to play more with the national team but there are more important things right now than FM. And I think it would be pointless to continue when I don’t have energy and thoughts about to play the game. There is no passion and joy.
My Mexican side played 24 matches, we won 22 and lost 2. I think that’s a really good outcome.