Mexico On The Cover Of Sports Illustrated As America’s Team

Carlos Vela, Chucky and Chicharito all grace the cover of SI’s World Cup 2018 Preview issue.

Growing up as a reader of Sports Illustrated and a fan of soccer were two mutually exclusive things. Every week, I’d immediately flip through the magazine looking for an article from Grant Wahl or a blurb concerning the world’s game, but it was an extremely rare occurrence. This is perhaps best exemplified by the fact that of the magazine’s storied cover photos, soccer isn’t even in the top 10 for most covers by sports — it trails hockey, track and field and tennis in that regard.

But when it happens, it’s lovely. I’ll never forget my excitement before the 2002 World Cup when the maverick Clint Mathis graced the cover — soccer’s first appearance there since Brandi Chastain’s iconic celebration at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final.

Clint Mathis

Clint Mathis is the G.O.A.T. Photo: @SInow | Twitter

That was quickly followed by an image of Landon Donovan during the USMNT’s glorious Round of 16 triumph over Mexico. 

Landon Donovan

Two in a row for soccer! Photo: @SInow | Twitter

Sports Illustrated will typically give the cover to soccer athletes during World Cup years — there was an entire commemorative line for the USWNT after their 2015 World Cup triumph — but only David Beckham’s transfer to Los Angeles in 2007, Mario Balotelli, Lionel Messi and Neymar have graced the cover on their own accord over the last 10+ years.

David Beckham

I vividly remember seeing this in an airport for the first time. Photo: @SInow | Twitter

Lionel Messi

Messi before a Copa America that would end in tears. Photo: @SInow | Twitter

The 2018 World Cup preview issue drops the week of June 4-11, and you have your choice of four different covers. One features Mexico and includes images of Carlos Vela, Hirving “Chucky” Lozano and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. 

Mexico Sports Illustrated cover

Chucky, Vela and Chicharito doing some screaming. Photo: @SInow | Twitter

The other covers feature Egypt’s Mohamed Salah (oh no, the cover curse), England’s Harry Kane and Iceland. 

This is definitely one to pickup and put on the coffee table throughout June. 

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