Mexico seemed to do everything right against Cameroon. The 1-0 win was enough to silence the critics and have faith in the team; however, there's always room for improvement, especially when the next rival is Brazil.
Don't expect to see any changes in the starting XI. Miguel Herrera is the kind of coach who, once he has found what he likes, sticks to that.
Every line worked like a well-oiled machine. From Guillermo Ochoa's key save in the 90th minute to Oribe Peralta's winning goal, Mexico showed a side we hadn't seen in months.
So what's the thing Herrera needs to change? He must find a way to keep the team tight in the last 15 minutes of the game.
Against the Indomitable Lions, El Tri played fantastic, touching the ball and passing it accurately.
The midfield was key in the victory. Of Mexico's 100 percent ball possession, 25 percent was in the center of the pitch, 15 percent in the right and 22 percent in the left, as reported by FIFA.com.
This sort of control nullifies the rival and pushes it to chase the ball constantly. The runs through the flanks add verticality, leaving the opponents tired.
The thing is the flying full-backs (Miguel Layun and Paul Aguilar) join the attack constantly, and if they fail to come back quickly, they leave the center backs with a huge responsibility.
Little by little against Cameroon, El Tri wore down due to the intensity and hard work the 5-3-2 system demands, and the substitutions were imminent.
What happened next was worrisome.
Cameroon took advantage of Mexico's disorganization and started to gain possession, which eventually resulted in a couple of interesting goal opportunities.
El Tri had been in command of the game but the balance broke when the subs came in. It had nothing to do with their performance or skills but with the fact that the unity was lost.
There was a clear difference in rhythm and mentality. Herrera has to address this immediately because Brazil will not be forgiving if Mexico fails to sustain its teamwork.
It shouldn't be hard because he has already accomplished the toughest thing of all, and that is that all the footballers play as one.
There are no isolated individual efforts. Every one on the pitch fights and fits into the system correctly.
So we are talking of tying up the lose ends more than changing a strategy or a player.
If there were ever doubts about this team, they have been cleared for sure.
Mexico is set to put up a fight with the host and put even more pressure on Croatia.
If Herrera manages to find the balance between the starters and the subs and work with Layun and Aguilar in getting back to their defending duties on time, El Tri will perform even better.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!