International Friendly Reaction: Top 5 Performers in the Brazil vs. Mexico Game
Brazil and Mexico have played out some pretty monumental matches through the years.
Both are mainstays in the World Cup and have seen some historic players don the colors of their respective countries.
El Tri and the Seleção met last night at the Estadio Corona in Mexico, with plenty of big names on display.
Up-and-coming talent and familiar faces littered each side, and Brazil came back from a one-goal and one-man deficit to defeat the home squad.
Here is a list of the top five performers from last night’s friendly.
It has been a while since Gaucho has pulled on a Brazil shirt, and with the driven performance he put in last night, coach Mano Menezes might be calling on the midfielder more often.
Ronaldinho pulled the strings throughout the match, connecting the midfield and attack in trademark fashion. Every free kick in the offensive third was taken by the former Barcelona man, and for good reason.
He forced an excellent save from Mexican goalkeeper Oswaldo Sánchez with one attempt before curling a sublime effort past the helpless keeper at 79 minutes.
The influence of the midfielder is obvious, and the respect he has from opponents and his teammates is inspiring. Although he has seen his fair share of rough patches in the last year or so, ‘Dinho is an unquestionable talent who can help the developing youngsters of Brazil grow.
4. Neymar Junior
The 19-year-old was in a sprightly mood last night, going at just about everyone on the Mexican squad. The Santos striker didn’t hesitate to take on opponents off the dribble and linked well off his teammates.
Neymar found himself on the ground a lot, and this rightly brought plenty of jeers from the home support. Nevertheless, the in-demand striker was beaten to a pulp this game and was able to orchestrate cheeky attacks and put on a mesmerizing dribbling display.
The mohawked mercurial that is Neymar is currently the hottest prospect in world football, and with his display last night he solidified his value to the world.
It won't be long before the striker dips for Europe, and Menezes is anxious to see where the ceiling of potential truly ends for the young man.
3. Javier Hernandez
Timely running and a tireless work rate accurately describe the style of Chicharito’s play, and yesterday’s game was no different.
The Manchester United striker was a constant nuisance to the Brazil backline, particularly David Luiz. The matchup between him and Marcelo was always fun to watch.
Hernandez was unlucky not to get on the score sheet or have an assist, and early on in the second half he forced a terrific save out of the Brazilian goalkeeper with a glancing header.
The 23-year-old is the future of both Mexico and Manchester United, even though there are rumors of him moving to Real Madrid soon. For the time being, the striker is anxious to get back on the pitch with the Red Devils and will be happy with his performance heading back to England.
2. Oswaldo Sánchez
On his 100th cap for the Mexican national team, Sánchez put in an emotional display for his side, as it would prove to be his last game for his country as well.
Forced to make some heroic saves during the match, the Santos Laguna keeper could not be blamed for the two goals he allowed. Both were perfectly-placed shots that no goalie in the world could stop.
Sánchez has had a long and illustrious career internationally, taking part in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups. Achieving plenty along the way, the keeper can bow out knowing he will go down in Mexican folklore.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, coach José Manuel de la Torre pulled a classy move by subbing off the former Atlas and Club America man, so he could go out to the roar of the crowd that have watched him for nearly two decades.
Never one to be fearful of getting up the park, the Real Madrid fullback was lively both offensively and defensively throughout last night’s match.
He was also fortunate not to be booked on more than one occasion, but that does not diminish the young Brazilian’s effect on the outcome.
At the 83rd minute mark, Marcelo went on a vintage run from the back, interchanging passes with his teammates before finding himself in the Mexican box. He casually stepped aside of two defenders before rifling home the ball into the top of the net.
This run of play marked a triumphant comeback, and with his signature celebratory back flip, further cemented Marcelo’s growth within the national squad. Expect him to be ever-present in Brazil’s defense for years to come, because he is shaping up to be world-class.