Mexico vs. Costa Rica: 6 Things We Learned from World Cup Qualifier
Mexico secured a place in the final stage of the 2014 World Cup CONCACAF qualifier after beating Costa Rica 1-0 at Estadio Azteca.
Chicharito netted a header after Jorge Torres Nilo crossed from the left.
Despite the victory, the squad didn't work as well as it should, so there's plenty of room for improvement.
Here are six things we learned from tonight's match.
A Golden Generation in the Making
We saw a golden generation of footballers at the London Olympics; some of them are now playing for the senior squad.
If they keep the good work, they will play their first World Cup in 2014. They have already proven to have the skills, talent and mentality to play in a major event.
Perhaps one of the brightest is Javier Aquino. The winger played great, he ran and recovered balls, with out losing sight of his place on the pitch.
José De Jesús Corona Needs to Work in His Aerial Game
The Cruz Azul goalkeeper is fantastic when it comes to long distance shots and quick reflexes, but his aerial game is often less than satisfactory.
Tonight, Corona was out in the open when Costa Rica had corner kicks. We have seen this from a long time ago. The Olympics were also a clear example of this.
Oribe Peralta and Chicharito Don't Complement Each Other
They are both great strikers. However, Oribe Peralta and Javier Hernández don't make a good match.
Chicharito seems to work better with Aldo de Nigris, while El Cepillo appears to be more comfortable with Andrés Guardado and Jesús Zavala.
Coach José Manuel de la Torre will have to choose, sooner rather than latter.
The Defense Needs to Improve
Héctor Moreno and Javier Rodríguez must be focused. Today they made childish mistakes that could have been costly with any other squad.
Costa Rica didn't take advantage of the situation not because they didn't want to but because they don't have the resources.
El Tri needs to work hard in the back line, in the next couple of matches—against Guyana and El Salvador—Chepo can give Hiram Mier and Dárvin Chávez a chance.
The Team Needs to Control the Ball in the Midfield
Mexico knew that Costa Rica was seeking to counter-attack. The midfielders forgot about ball control and Costa Rica managed to hold them off.
If El Tri wants to succeed against teams with more skill, the players need to understand that if they keep loosing the ball like they did tonight, they won't be so lucky.
It is true that Mexico seemed nervous, but they need to step up and make their own game and not just play to the rival's rhythm.
Think Outside the Box
Andrés Guardado receives a pass from Salcido/Torres Nilo, and then he runs through the left sideline and crosses to Peralta/Hernández/de Nigris.
That is the play El Tri repeats over and over again. At some point the rivals notice it and start making Guardado's life miserable.
So, new tactic, Salcido running from the midfield to the box and just outside of it he distributes the ball to any attacking player—and that's it!
Mexico must pay attention to this. There's a lot of talent in the team and they can exploit it even more. Taking chances and believing that a long distance shot or a give and go can give great results.