10 Talking Points for Mexico Following Win vs. Cameroon
Mexico defeated Cameroon 1-0, proving that they should not be taken for granted. Miguel Herrera's 5-3-2 system worked better than ever, and the players showed just how committed they are to the project.
From side to side, El Tri did just what was needed. The footballers understood the coach's plan and kept the ball as much as possible.
Mexico completed 382 passes of a total of 462 (89 percent of effectiveness), recovered 44 balls and had nine times on goal.
Speed, rhythm and patience were three of their most valuable assets, and they took advantage of them constantly.
Now El Tri are set to face Brazil on June 17, and the good news is they have shown they have what it takes to compete.
All advanced stats courtesy of miseleccion.mx (in Spanish), unless otherwise noted.
Crosses and Diagonals Are Key
Miguel Layun put Cameroon in trouble constantly. His speed through the left line was key for Mexico because he provided depth and dynamism.
In the first 15 minutes, he was a bit nervous and didn't complete as many crosses as he would have wanted to, but he shook it off and pushed the Africans to the limit.
The Club America left-back even stole a ball at the end of the match that could have been El Tri's second goal, but Javier Hernandez missed the chance.
Through the right flank, Hector Herrera made quite a difference. He was responsible for putting the ball in the box in Mexico's first nullified goal.
His dribbling skills are fantastic, and they help him get past the defenders easily. Especially since Paul Aguilar wasn't as accurate as he usually is.
Both players will be key in the upcoming game, as they have proven to be in control of their emotions and ready to tackle any challenge.
First Time Mexico Defeats an African Team in a World Cup
This was the fourth time that Mexico had faced an African team.
In Argentina 1978, Tunisia turned over the score after they were 1-0 down. The Eagles of Carthage scored three times in the second half and won 3-1.
Almost 30 years later, in Germany, Angola pushed Mexico into a scoreless draw, just five days after El Tri defeated Iran 3-1 in the first match.
In South Africa, Mexico faced the hosts in the inaugural game. The Bafana Bafana surprised Javier Aguirre's side with an early goal in the second half. It took a huge effort from Rafael Marquez to tie the game.
Francisco Rodriguez Fulfilled
The Cruz Azul centre-back secured a spot in the starting XI because Miguel Herrera trusts him. However, Francisco Rodriguez hasn't been the sharpest defender in the past year.
The former PSV and Stuttgart footballer has lost his speed. Nevertheless, his experience helped him to carry out his job, which will help him silence his critics, at least for another clash.
Rodriguez was steady, strong and even put some interesting passes to the last third of the pitch seeking to help the forwards.
Guillermo Ochoa Didn't Disappoint
The battle for the starting position was especially tough in the goal. Jesus Corona and Guillermo Ochoa fought until the last warm-up against Portugal, hoping to convince coach Miguel Herrera.
El Piojo didn't have it easy and confessed to Mexican website MedioTiempo.com (in Spanish) that he asked the defenders their opinion in this matter.
Ochoa secured his place in the starting XI and proved he has what it takes to make a difference on the pitch. He cleared the ball correctly in stressful situations and had great communication with his teammates.
He saved Mexico in the 90th minute from what could have easily been Cameroon's equalizer.
Javier Hernandez Will Stay on the Bench
Javier Hernandez played a little more than half an hour but failed to score.
It is true that he created some interesting goal options, especially one in which Marco Fabian arrived a little bit late to the box.
Unfortunately for the Manchester United striker, he had one of the clearest opportunities to score but couldn't make a good contact with the ball and put it on the bleachers.
That's not the only bad news for Chicharito; Oribe Peralta ended his scoreless drought.
Miguel Herrera Should Stick to the Same Starting XI
Mexico performed great against Cameroon. The 1-0 win could have easily been a 3-0 if it hadn't been for the linesman who nullified two goals from Giovani dos Santos.
Miguel Herrera picked his 11 footballers wisely. Perhaps the expectation wasn't as high because the coach experimented with the lineup in six warm-ups.
El Tri should play with the same squad in front of Brazil. They proved to be a very structured and functional side.
The team’s mindset was fantastic, especially after the disallowed goals. Mexico managed to stay focused and kept grinding until they ultimately scored.
The players knew what they had to do, they were patient and kept the ball as much as possible. Mexico’s ball possession was 58 percent, according to FIFA.com.
El Tri need to keep the good spirits for the upcoming game against the host.
The Last 15 Minutes Were Messy
Mexico had been doing a great job for more than an hour, but in the last 15 minutes the team couldn't keep up the good performance.
It was very tough to balance the players in the second half because those who stayed on the pitch were tired, while the subs came in with a different rhythm.
Cameroon tried to attack constantly in the last minutes of the game, and El Tri's instability nearly cost them the victory.
Miguel Herrera needs to work on this in order to stay in command of the game.
The Result Is a Great Confidence Booster...
Mexico knew this was a crucial game because somehow this would be their easiest game of group stage.
After Brazil defeated Croatia, El Tri were basically bound to secure three points in their debut. Mexico fought hard, and despite adversity, they did it in style.
Another reason why El Tri had to win this was precisely to loosen up and have a confidence booster ahead of what will be their toughest game.
But Brazil Will Be Tougher to Beat
It is true that Mexico have always been a tough rival for Brazil and Felipe Scolari knows it.
According to Spanish-language football website MedioTiempo.com, last Thursday, Brazil rehearsed some specific plays for the game against Mexico.
Scolari has taken this game seriously this from the moment that the World Cup draw took place in December 2013, when he told the reporters that the clash with El Tri was basically a clasico.
The hosts are the favorites to win the cup and must prove that they are worth it, especially after a couple of controversial refereeing decisions in the inaugural match.