Mexico vs. New Zealand: 6 Things We Learned

Karla Villegas GamaFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2013

Mexico vs. New Zealand: 6 Things We Learned

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    Mexico secured a 5-1 victory in the first leg of the World Cup playoff against New Zealand on Wednesday.

    Paul Aguilar, Raul Jimenez, Oribe Peralta (twice) and Rafael Marquez scored for El Tri at the Estadio Azteca.

    This was Mexico’s second win on home soil in 2013, and it couldn't have come in a more crucial moment.

    El Tri are now ready to travel to Wellington, where they will face the All Whites in the hope of keeping the World Cup dream alive.

    Let’s see what we learned from this match.

El Tri Must Avoid the Offside Trap

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    The linesman disallowed a goal because the Mexicans were offside.

    El Tri could have scored more if they had read the plays correctly. They were left hanging five times.

    Oribe Peralta was caught offside twice, while Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Paul Aguilar and Carlos Pena were penalized once each.

Mexico Are Hungry for More

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    Can you recall the last time that Mexico fought till the end of the game?

    The players did not give up. They controlled the ball and passed it from one side to the other, looking to find spaces and extend the lead.

    It’s refreshing to see a side that is so focused and willing to give a good show. They finally played with pride, respecting the jersey and understanding that this was not an easy opponent.

    The players proved that they know what is at stake.

Mexico Have Recovered Their Confidence

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    Mexico are doing great. They brought the momentum from their win against Finland to the first leg of the playoff.

    It is clear that signing Miguel Herrera to coach the team was the right call. The footballers are confident and playing with a clear strategy after months of uncertainty.

    They keep the ball, create plays and finish them. The result against New Zealand is key because they took a lot of pressure off themselves, and now they just need to keep playing the way they have in the past couple of games.

Mexico Played Their Best Game of 2013

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    No one can question that Mexico played better than they have in 2013.

    They started the game a little shaky. Mexico missed some clear opportunities but ultimately scored five times. El Tri took advantage of their technique and overshadowed New Zealand in style.

    Oribe Peralta, Miguel Layun and Paul Aguilar were at their very best.

Miguel Layun Is a Game Changer

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    The America defender has proved to be a valuable asset when he comes from the left flank.

    Layun assisted Oribe Peralta in Mexico’s third goal. He also caused some dangerous plays from that side.

    Unlike in previous games, the left-back was always in the right position and came back quickly to prevent counterattacks.

Oribe Peralta Is Mexico's Top Player

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    Oribe Peralta keeps getting better and better. His brace against New Zealand set him as joint Mexico top scorer of the year with Javier Hernandez.

    "El Cepillo" also scored in front of Ivory Coast, Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica and Finland.

    He is a tireless forward who will not give up under any circumstance. Plus, he creates plays and feeds balls to his teammates.

    There is no doubt that he was a late bloomer with El Tri, but things happen for a reason. He couldn't have been more useful than he has been in the past couple of months.