Mexico vs. Ivory Coast: 6 Things We Learned
Jose Manuel de la Torre can breathe another month thanks to El Tri’s performance against Ivory Coast.
Mexico beat the African side 4-1, and even though it was just a friendly match, it is definitely a key result for a team that had not scored more than two goals in a game in 2013.
The addition of two naturalized players and the inclusion of some Mexico-born footballers was also a factor in the game.
Join me to find out what we learned from the match.
Angel Reyna Gives the Team a New Face
Angel Reyna was sharp. He gives the team a lot of depth with his unbalancing skills.
The Veracruz midfielder is fast and accurate with his passes. Plus, he scored once.
Reyna worked closely with Giovani dos Santos, Christian Gimenez and Oribe Peralta to put Ivory Coast in distress.
His creativity and eagerness to keep the ball are two elements that Mexico lacked in previous games.
Christian Gimenez Was a Great Addition
The recently naturalized footballer made his debut in style. He started the game between Angel Reyna and Giovani dos Santos, making a creative trifecta that generated constant danger to Boubacar Barry’s goal.
Gimenez spent most of his time on the pitch in the midfield, helping with ball possession and feeding passes to his teammates.
He showed his gifted right foot with two shots from outside the box.
Diego Reyes Could Replace Javier Rodriguez for Good
The performance of Diego Reyes in the last couple of games has been impeccable, and for Javier Rodriguez, this could mean staying on the bench.
Reyes is now playing in Europe, for Porto, and at age 20 is destined to have a bright future. His fine touch and toughness make him a consistent centre-back.
Diego made a great partnership with Hector Moreno. Although Ivory Coast is not the toughest opponent, Reyes has been at his best regardless of who the team has played.
Oribe Peralta Must Be an Undisputed Starter
Oribe Peralta scored twice and proved to be going through a very good moment.
The Santos striker is one of the most complete footballers in Mexican football. He takes his chances from outside the box, is very fast and strong and has an amazing header.
“El Cepillo” has to be in the starting lineup, not only because of his skills, but also because of his mindset. A positive player who will not give up is precisely what a team that lacks goals needs.
The Result Will Boost Mexico's Confidence
El Tri needed a break after the failure in both the Confederations Cup and the Gold Cup.
The final result is the reflection of a group that has a clear idea of what it wants to achieve. Mexico’s game had looked a lot different to the one they showed us in 2011 and 2012, when the first team lost only three games and conquered the Gold Cup.
In all fairness, the victory is not a total relief, but it surely will increase El Tri’s confidence ahead of one of its most important matches against Honduras at the Azteca.
This Team Could Face Honduras and Defeat Them
Jose Manuel de la Torre went with a new strategy and a different lineup, which at the end of the day paid off. The team was full of creative players, such as Angel Reyna, Giovani dos Santos, Christian Gimenez and Fernando Arce.
Somehow, they managed to become a solid group and play with clarity, which is different from what we had seen in previous games.
Next month, El Tri receives Honduras at the Azteca in a match that has more importance than many would want. Mexico has yet to win on home turf in this year's Hexagonal and "Chepo" knows that one more draw can cost him his job.
However, the performance against Ivory Coast takes a lot of pressure off him because these players showed him, the media and the fans that they can actually play rather than run around the pitch with no idea of what to do.