Rafa Marquez to return to Mexico national team for March friendlies
The last we saw of Rafa Marquez in a Mexico uniform, he was tripping up Arjen Robben in the box, leading to the Netherlands' dramatic winning penalty kick in the 2014 World Cup round of 16. Despite inclinations that might be his final performance for El Tri, the four-time World Cup veteran and captain is set to play again for his country.
Marquez is one of 12 European-based players called in by manager Miguel Herrera for Mexico's friendlies against Ecuador and Paraguay in the United States later this month. Mexico will play Ecuador at the LA Coliseum on March 28 before playing Paraguay at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium on March 31.
The 36-year-old Marquez, who left reigning Liga MX champion Leon to join Serie A club Hellas Verona after the World Cup, has 124 caps, tied for fifth most in Mexico history.
Marquez will be joined by Javier Hernandez (Real Madrid); Diego Reyes and Hector Herrera (Porto); Giovani and Jonathan Dos Santos (Villarreal); Raul Jimenez (Atletico Madrid); Andres Guardado (PSV Eindhoven); Guillermo Ochoa (Malaga); Jesus Manuel Corona (FC Twente); Hector Moreno (Espanyol); and Miguel Layun (Watford). One noticeable absence is Carlos Vela, who is not in the squad as he continues his recovery from February knee surgery.
Mexico is currently ranked 21st in the latest FIFA world ranking, the second-highest team in CONCACAF behind 2014 World Cup quarterfinalist Costa Rica (13).