The FIFA World Cup in Russia begins on June 14. The squads of the 32 competing countries are set, and the players are ready to challenge for the biggest prize in sports.

As the MLS club with the most participants in this year's World Cup, LAFC had multiple players called in by their respective national teams. Below is the list of players named to World Cup squads for 2018 tournament:


A veteran of the 2010 World Cup, Carlos Vela was a consistent starter during Mexico's 2018 qualifying campaign. With his start against Germany in Group F, Vela has now appeared in his second World Cup. Follow Carlos and Mexico's matches with the schedule below.

Mexico vs Germany
W 1-0
Mexico vs South Korea
W 2-1
Mexico vs Sweden
L 0-3
Mexico vs Brazil
L 0-2


It's been 62 years since a country has repeated as World Cup champions. Mexico did its part to keep it that way in the opening match of Group F on Sunday.

The last time Germany failed to win its opening match in a World Cup was 1986. Mexico hadn't defeated Germany since 1985. But none of that mattered as El Tri stunned the Germans with a clinical counterattack in the 35th minute. Hirving Lozano got the goal, but it was a well-worked combination between Chicharito and captain Andrè Guardado that created the opening.

He didn't figure into the match-winning goal, but Carlos Vela put in a stellar performance in his 58 minutes on the pitch.

Starting in a central attacking role behind Chicharito, Vela was the maestro behind multiple dangerous counterattacks from Mexico. Had Chicharito been a bit sharper in his passing during a 2v1 break early in the second half, Vela may have found the back of the net. The LAFC Designated Player was removed in the 58th minute in favor of the more defensive Edson Álvarez, but not before Vela marked Germany's Toni Kroos out of much of the match.

The 1-0 win puts Mexico atop Group F, with Sweden and South Korea set to start group play on Monday. Vela and El Tri take on South Korea in Matchday 2 on June 23.


The moment for Carlos Vela arrived in the 26th minute. And with it, he made history.

Converting a penalty after a handball in the South Korean box, Vela scored his first World Cup goal and the first by an LAFC player in the world's biggest tournament.

Lead in hand, El Tri looked comfortable for most of the match. Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez doubled Mexico's lead in the 66th minute, finishing off a clinical counterattack. Son Heung-min pulled one back for South Korea in stoppage time, but it was too little, too late.

Mexico remains perfect in the group stages of Russia 2018 with six points. They top Group F after the 2-1 win.


The door to the knockout stages of the World Cup was wide open before Mexico kicked off against Sweden. By the end of Matchday 3, Mexico had narrowly slipped through as South Korea propped the door open just a sliver before it slammed shut.

Entering the day on top of Group F with the maximum six points, Mexico needed just a draw to guarantee advancement. But Sweden, very much still alive despite a last minute loss to Germany in the previous match, had other ideas.

Ludwig Augustinsson finished an unmarked chance from 10 yards out to open the scoring in the 50th. Andreas Granqvist doubled the lead with an unstoppable penalty just 12 minutes later. Then an own goal off the boot of Edson Álvarez, and El Tri went down 3-0 with less than 20 minutes to play.

Mexico no longer in control of its own destiny at the World Cup, El Tri fans turned their attention to the scoreless match between Germany and South Korea. A Germany goal would spell disaster for Mexico. Into stoppage time, the Germans continued to pour forward.

But two minutes into stoppage time, a South Korean corner rattled around the Germany penalty area before finding the foot of defender Kim Young-gwon. The defender lifted his shot into the roof of the German net. While flag of the assistant referee cut celebrations short, replays showed the South Korean defender might have been played in by German midifielder Toni Kroos. Referee Mark Geiger went to VAR to have a closer look.

After a quick check, the goal was confirmed by Geiger. South Korea were ahead 1-0. Mexico had a lifeline.

As the final whistle blew confirming Mexico's 3-0 defeat to Sweden, the Mexican players remained on the field to await the results of the Germany-South Korea match. With South Korea up 1-0, Mexico would advance.

Needing two goals in quick succession, Germany poured forward with all 11 players on the pitch. German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer lost possession of the ball some 70 yards from his own net, allowing Ju Se-jong to knock the ball into the path of Son Heung-min. With an empty net and no Germany players in his path, Son easily finished South Korea's second of the match. The reigning champs were out. Mexico would go through despite the loss.

After the dust settled on Matchday 3, Sweden, in third heading into the day, catapulted to the top of Group F. Mexico would claim the second spot. And Germany would become the fourth reigning champion in the last five World Cups to go out in the group stage.

Carlos Vela played the full 90 minutes plus stoppage in Mexico's final match of Group F. He was unlucky not to open the scoring for Mexico against Sweden when a Chicharito shot fizzed off his forward and just wide of an the empty net of Sweden. The LAFC forward finished the group stage with one goal and created numerous chances for Mexico in three starts.

Mexico now awaits the winner of Group E in the Round of 16 on July 2.


If you believe in curses, or are Juan Carlos Osorio, you'll want to look away. Mexico are out of the World Cup once again in the Round of 16. This time their tormentors in the heliocentric tops of Brazil. Neymar and Roberto Firmino inflicted the damage with a goal each in the second half. And for the seventh tournament in a row, El Tri could see the Promise Land that is the quarterfinals on the horizon, but& could not enter.

Osorio set out his side with clear intentions following the selection of Rafa Marquez in the starting 11. From the opening whistle, Mexico would clog the middle of the pitch and hope to counter through the trio of Carlos Vela, Hirving Lozano, and Chicharito up top.

Half of the plan came to fruition. Brazil were forced out wide for much of the first 45 minutes. But Mexico's counterattack rarely threatened the Brazil goal. The first half finished 0-0, but with Brazil clearly the more comfortable side.

As the second 45 minutes started much like the first, Mexico goalkeeper Memo Ochoa kept his side in the match as wave after wave of Brazilian attacks crashed against the El Tri goal. The goalkeeper finished the match with eight saves and was really the only standout performer for El Tri on the day.

The pressure from Neymar and co. would prove just too much in 51st minute. Luring multiple defenders across the top of the Mexico box, the Brazilian No. 10 laid off for teammate Willian before continuing his run to the back post. With Mexico scurrying to reset their defensive position, Willian's driven cross to the far post was met by the outstretched slide of Neymar, as the ball was redirected into an open net.

Down a goal, Mexico mounted its best resistance of the match. El Tri held possession for longer periods and found outlets in Vela and Lozano beyond Brazil's press.&

Vela forced Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson to palm a dipping shot over the bar in the 61st minute. It was Mexico's only shot on target the entire match, while Brazil managed 10 on frame.

Neymar would finally shut the door on Mexico in the 88th minute. Running at the heart of the defense, he forced Ochoa into a reflexive save. However, the goalkeeper could only redirect the ball into the onrushing path of Firmino for another tap in for Brazil.

Down 2-0, the six minutes of stoppage time were not enough for Mexico. They leave Russia having defeated the reigning World Cup champion Germany and advancing to their seventh knockout stage in a row. But whether it was just the strength of Brazil or the "curse of the fifth game" taking hold once more, Mexico are headed home before the quarterfinals once more.



Omar Gaber was one of the 23 players chosen by head coach Hector Cuper to Egypt's first World Cup squad since 1990. The 26-year-old defender is a veteran of World Cups in youth tournaments for Egypt, and now has his chance at a first appearance in the senior competition, but has made 22 appearances for the Pharaohs since his first senior call-up in 2011. Follow Omar and Egypt's matches with the schedule below.

Egypt vs Uruguay
L 0-1
Egypt vs Russia
L 1-3
Egypt vs Saudi Arabia
L 1-2


Egypt’s first World Cup match in 28 years was a back and forth affair until the 89th minute. Uruguay eventually found the back of the net on a José Giménez header after a slew of set pieces opportunities in Egypt’s defensive third.

Unfortunately, had to make do without Mohamed Salah, who was an unused substitute along with Omar Gaber against Uruguay. Now the Pharaohs have their work cut out for them in the next two matches. Egypt face tournament hosts Russia, who routed Saudia Arabia 5-0 in their first match, in Matchday 2 on Tuesday.


Heartbreak for Egypt in its second match of the tournament. Mohamed Salah returned from injury, but it was not enough as the Pharaohs fell behind the hosts Russia in the 47th minute via an own goal from defender Ahmed Fathy.

Egypt dug itself a deeper hole, conceding twice more in the space of three minutes. A late 73rd minute penalty from Salah was merely consolation, as Russia ran out 3-1 winners on the day. For the second straight match, LAFC’s Omar Gaber remained on the bench. And to add to Egypt’s woes, Uruguay defeated Saudia Arabia 1-0 the following day to end Egypt’s chances of moving on to the knockout stages of the tournament.


Egypt's final match in the 2018 World Cup got off to a flying start when Mohamed Salah scored just 22 minutes into its match with Saudi Arabia. The Egyptian star outran the Saudi Arabia defense before sending a looping ball over goalkeeper Yasser Al-Mosailem. But the joy was short lived when Saudi Arabia equalized via a penalty at the stroke of halftime.

Egypt's woes at the World Cup continued in the second half, as they were unable to maintain much of the ball and were constantly under pressure in defense. Late in stoppage time, Saudi Arabia found a breakthrough dooming Egypt to it's third loss of the tournament. LAFC's Omar Gaber was once again an unused substitute for Egypt in the country's final match.



Costa Rica head coach Óscar Ramírez cut right to the chase, naming his final 23-man roster well before the June 4 deadline. LAFC forward Marco Ureña was named as part of that squad, making his second World Cup appearance. The forward scored once for the Ticos during the 2014 World Cup. Follow Marco and Costa Rica's matches with the schdeule below.

Costa Rica vs Serbia
L 0-1
Costa Rica vs Brazil
L 0-2
Costa Rica vs Switzerland
D 2-2


Marco Ureña's first start in a World Cup match was also a first for his Club.

Taking his usual spot up top for the Ticos against Serbia in the opening match of Group E, Ureña became the first player in LAFC history to participate in a World Cup. Unfortunately, it was not all good news, as Costa Rica dropped its opener 1-0 thanks to an Aleksander Kolorav free kick in the 56th minute.

Having made all four of his previous World Cup appearances off the bench for Costa Rica, Ureña got his first World Cup start just over a month after having surgery to repair a facial fracture. Leading the line for the Ticos, the forward went close to opening the scoring when he was played through on goal just 10 minutes into the match. Ureña couldn't quite get his angles right though, as Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojković was there to make the save.

Kolarov's free kick broke the deadlock after a scoreless first half, forcing Costa Rica to send numbers forward in search of an equalizer. But after his opportunity in the first half, Ureña was unable to get much service from his teammates. He was subbed off for Joel Campbell in the 67th minute.

Costa Rica now has the difficult task of facing Brazil in its next match. The Ticos will be in search of their first points of the tournament.


The Ticos faced a tough challenge in their second match of the World Cup with five-time champion Brazil as the opposition.

A compact and determined Costa Rica side, with Marco Ureña starting up top, held the Brazilians scoreless into the 90th minute. But ultimately, Brazil was just too strong. Philippe Coutinho broke the deadlock one minute into stoppage time. Neymar added a second to round out the scoring in the 97th minute, as Brazil went top of group E with a 2-0 victory.

Ureña went 54 minutes in the match before being substituted for Christian Bolaños.