Mexico vs. Cameroon: 6 Things We Learned
Mexico won their first World Cup match against an African side for the first time in history as they defeated Cameroon 1-0 in their first match in Brazil.
El Tri lost to 3-1 to Tunisia in Argentina 1978, at Germany, almost 30 years later, the team tied with Angola and grabbed another draw with South Africa in 2010.
This time, coach Miguel Herrera brought a team that understood how to play with a 5-3-2 system, which eventually allowed the footballers to have more freedom, speed and ball possession.
Mexico grabbed their first three points, which were crucial as the following matches will be key to determine which squads will advance to the knockout stage.
All advanced stats courtesy of miseleccion.mx, unless otherwise noted.
Giovani Dos Santos Played at His Best
Giovani dos Santos had always been a natural second striker. His speed, fine touch and dribbling skills set him as one of the most unbalancing players Mexico has ever had.
After years of struggle, Miguel Herrera finally put him behind Oribe Peralta and it paid off.
The Villarreal footballer showed great movement inside the box, fed balls to his teammates and even helped the defense when it needed support.
There is absolutely no doubt that Dos Santos is going through his best moment. He will bring a lot to the table during the tournament.
Jose Juan Vazquez Is Up for the Challenge
Central midfielder Jose Juan Vazquez had only played three games with El Tri before his World Cup debut with Cameroon.
It was worrisome because Miguel Herrera's system puts a lot of pressure in the center of the pitch. El Gallito, who has already secured two Liga MX titles with Leon, had never worn the La Verde shirt in an international tournament.
Despite all the added pressure, Vazquez managed to complete 41 passes and only missed five, achieving 89 percent effectiveness.
He pushed the Cameroonians and helped his team with accurate passes and structure.
Mexico Played Their Best Game in Years
Mexico played brilliantly. The players were patient and disciplined until they finally capitalized on their efforts.
El Tri have a lot of talented players. Although different from what we have seen in previous rosters, this is a squad that knows how to work together.
The link between lines was sharp. The defenders did a fine job, the midfield was strong and the attacking zone finally paid off, like it was supposed to.
Mexico created six goal chances, had nine shots and generated 22 crosses, as reported by Squawka.
Hector Herrera Is Playing Better Than Ever
Hector Herrera has become an elemental player for Mexico. He is El Tri's right midfielder and tends to create plays by cutting into the box.
The Porto footballer is also a great link player for the defense, especially when Paul Aguilar is near the goal line helping with crosses and diagonals.
Herrera created five goal opportunities and completed 85 percent of his passes. His ball possession and distribution are his most valuable assets.
Mexico's No.6 is living up to expectations, after being part of the U-23 squad that won the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics and being named Most Valuable Player of the Toulon Tournament.
Oribe Peralta Is Always a Changing Factor
Once again Oribe Peralta made a difference in the game. His fierceness and knack for goal scoring put him in the right spot to give Mexico the edge over Cameroon.
The thing with the Club America striker is that despite the scenario, he fights and tries to help the team, either passing the ball, creating spaces or finishing plays, Peralta always makes a good impression.
Against Cameroon he made a solid partnership with Giovani dos Santos. They worked together toward the same goal and they pressured the defenders on a regular basis, which was key in Mexico's success.
Refereeing Is Worrisome
The refereeing was controversial to say the least.
Mexico scored twice in the first half, however they were nullified, as the linesman considered that Giovani dos Santos was offside in both plays. He was not.
Coach Miguel Herrera complained vigorously but the referee had already made up his mind.
It's not the first time we have seen this in the World Cup.
In the opening game, Yuichi Nishimura also made some decisions that annoyed football fans and media all over the world as they included a controversial penalty kick.