4 Things to take from Mexico’s 1-0 win over Cameroon
“They can be dark horses.”
Roberto Martinez’s bold words after Mexico’s 1-0 win over Cameroon. Sure, it may seem like a big stretch for Mexico to win the World Cup, let alone contest it against opposition such as Netherlands, Argentina, Brazil, etc.; however, Martinez is on to something.
Right from the get-go, Herrera’s squad looked sharp, dangerous, and most importantly, hungry for the three points. And with that mentality, Mexico can go a long way in this tournament.
So, here are four things to take from Mexico’s victory over Cameroon:
Miguel Herrera’s Leadership
It’s clear to see the leadership Miguel ‘Piojo’ Herrera has instilled within the Mexico camp. From his vocal support on the sidelines, to his infamous group ‘selfies’ with his squad, Herrera’s character has indefinitely latched on to El Tri.
With two goals disallowed (both from Giovanni dos Santos) in the first half, Mexico was obligated to respond in the second half with more clear-cut chances for goals. To make matters much more difficult, Brazil’s three points were looming over Herrera. On top of that, the Arena das Dunas’ field was getting its fair share of rain.
Herrera must have given a calming and assuring speech during halftime. Whatever he told his team, it worked. Mexico continued their impressive attacking threat in the second half, and soon enough it resulted in a Peralta goal. If Mexico is out to make it past group stages, they will have to show the same character and grit that was shown today.
Marquez and Co.
Mexico’s Rafael Marquez made history today by becoming the first player in history to captain his country at four different World Cups. Marquez has always been a polarizing player, for reasons that will not be rehashed; however, he’s had resurgence with the national team.
In today’s match, Marquez led his back line with discipline and fluidity. Hector Moreno and Maza Rodriguez played calmly, defending behind Marquez, and dispersed balls with precision and with the idea of smart retention. Additionally, Moreno, Rodriguez, and Marquez eliminated any aerial threats that Cameroon posed for them. Mexico’s defense, in Natal’s rainy conditions, was composed and solid for the majority of the game.
Mexico’s Dynamic Trio
When Miguel Herrera Tweeted his eleven man line-up yesterday night, many supporters might have had concern for “Gallito” Vasquez’s inclusion over Carlos “Gullit” Pena. Vasquez’s physical demeanor is not the most convincing in terms of strength; however, he has made up for it in one important aspect of his game: work-rate.
Luckily, Vasquez and Guardado both had an immense work-rate against their African opposition. Albeit, Guardado misplaced a couple of passes on the fast break, but his dirty work and will to track back is what made up for his otherwise average game.
On the other side of the coin, Hector Herrera – the product of maturity and disciplined growth during his time in Portugal with FC Porto. His will to take on opponents is what helped Mexico create chances from the middle of the park. Other than Giovanni, Herrera was the driving force for El Tri’s first victory in the World Cup.
Player of the Match: Giovanni dos Santos
Giovanni was behind every attacking threat created by Mexico. His two disallowed goals should have been marked as onside (his first is debatable). More importantly, it was Dos Santos’ ability to keep a cool head in the second half that allowed for Peralta to score off his rebounded shot. Furthermore, what this means for Mexico is that they will have one of their best players on form for the match against Brazil. With his pace, movement, and attitude on par with his expectations – Mexico finally have their danger man.
Written by Michael Serrano
Follow him on Twitter: @Mikkkeey