Mexico vs. Portugal: 6 Things We Learned

Karla Villegas GamaFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2014

Mexico vs. Portugal: 6 Things We Learned

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    Mexico lost 1-0 to Portugal after Bruno Alves scored a header in 90'+3'. It was a bittersweet result for El Tri as this was their best performance in their warm-up matches.

    It is still uncertain if Miguel Herrera has already made up his mind regarding the starting XI against Cameroon because he made five substitutions, some of them in key positions, like the goalkeeper and the forwards.

    Mexico need to finish the plays they create after a long series of passes. They have figured out how to keep the ball and how to distribute it, but they lack goals.

    All advanced stats provided by miseleccion.mx unless otherwise noted.

Dilemma in the Goal

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    What will Miguel Herrera do next Friday when Mexico debut against Cameroon? Both goalkeepers he played had fantastic saves and organized the defense correctly.

    It is true that Portugal netted, but it is fair to say that it was the result of a defensive mistake and Ochoa couldn't have done much to prevent it.

    This will be Herrera's toughest decision and whatever option he picks, the goal will be well guarded.

     

    Así lo hace @YoSoy8a al entrar ante Portugal #OchoaOCoronaTD https://t.co/CfQ17nIXkY

    — Georgina Gonzalez (@Geo_Gonzalez) June 7, 2014

Hector Herrera Continues to Delight

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    Hector Herrera took some time to figure out how he was supposed to play through the right flank, but he finally got it and has delivered fantastic results so far.

    The Porto midfielder fought hard, completed 26 passes (70 percent of effectiveness), shot four times and put Portugal's defense in distress constantly.

    Herrera is the kind of player who cuts from the flank into the center of the box but who can also feed balls to the forwards.

    He will be a key player in the World Cup, there's no doubt about it.

Oribe Peralta Needs a Partner

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    Miguel Herrera needs to figure out who is going to play next to Oribe Peralta because the Club America forward is doing everything but score.

    Peralta is feeding balls, opening spaces and unbalancing the defense because Giovani dos Santos needed more than 50 minutes to start playing like he usually does.

    Javier Hernandez did a good job and took advantage of the time he spent on the pitch. He understood that he needed to pass the ball when he couldn't finish the play. 

    Alan Pulido wasn't a factor and missed a clear opportunity at the end of the game.

Paul Aguilar Provides Depth

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    It's not every day we talk about Paul Aguilar. The Club America right-back is one of the most prolific footballers under Miguel Herrera's 5-3-2 system.

    He can run all the way to the goal line, from where he sends crosses or gets into the box to shoot from close range.

    Against Portugal he created several goal opportunities, completed 19 passes (76 percent of effectiveness) and recovered six balls.

    Aguilar is one of the few players on the team that has never had a true competitor for the starting position.

Rafael Marquez Changes Mexico

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    He was deeply missed against Bosnia. Carlos Salcido couldn't hold the back line and the Dragons had a field day that could have ended at least 3-0.

    But it's not only Rafael Marquez's hierarchy and experience that El Tri misses when he is not on the pitch, it's also his mindset and the way he moves and structures the team.

    Also, he can play in different positions. Against Portugal he managed to help Juan Jose Vazquez as a defensive midfielder.

Portugal Is in Deep Trouble Without Cristiano Ronaldo

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    Portugal had several goal opportunities and showed how good they can be when they create plays through the flanks, but they had a hard time finishing them.

    Nani, Eder, Joao Moutinho and Vieirinha displayed a lot of speed and strength but they couldn't put the ball away, despite Mexico's inability to cover tightly in that area.

    Cristiano Ronaldo's dependence is worrisome. He has missed two games due to an injury and it is not clear when he will be back, as reported by The Daily Mail's Charlie Scott.