Winners and Losers from Mexico's 2014 World Cup Campaign
June 29, 2014 will forever be remembered as the sixth time Mexico left the World Cup in the round of 16. And despite the early exit from the tournament, there were several memorable moments.
Good performances, fantastic ambiance and a very entertaining coach are just some of the great things the team brought to Brazil.
Like everything in life, there was a not so pleasant side, too. From the company that got into trouble for joking about Mexico’s defeat, to the injured players and those who didn't step onto the pitch.
Let's take a look at the winners and losers from El Tri's World Cup campaign.
Losers: The Fans
It was quite a ride for the thousands of Mexicans that traveled all the way to Brazil to support El Tri.
They believed in a team that had let them down throughout the Hexagonal, but that little by little managed to get back their confidence.
They supported their team, dressed up and sang the Cielito Lindo on and on in the stadium.
Así suena la Arena Pernambuco. https://t.co/74mielfrj6— Gibrán Araige (@GibranAraige) June 23, 2014
They also went to the team's hotel to show they believed in the players. They even brought mariachis with them.
Winner: Miguel Herrera
Miguel Herrera proved that a strong mentality and a good strategy can pick up the pieces of any team.
El Piojo managed to put together a squad that fought hard and amazed the world with a fluid and dynamic style of play.
Herrera picked the right footballers for the feat, as they proved that through hard work, trust and hunger they could turn things around very quickly.
El Piojo also became one of the most loved coaches of the tournament due to his epic celebrations.
Losers: The Players on the Bench
Miguel Herrera went with the same starting XI in the group stage and in the round of 16. He only changed Jose Juan Vazquez as he was suspended for the last match because he saw two yellow cards in the first three games.
In the second half of every match several footballers came in as subs: Javier Hernandez, Marco Fabian, Carlos Salcido (he also took Vazquez's starting position against Netherlands), Raul Jimenez, Carlos Pena, Javier Aquino and Diego Reyes.
Unfortunately, Alan Pulido, Miguel Ponce, Isaac Brizuela, Jesus Corona and Alfredo Talavera never left the bench. They spent a total of 360 minutes there.
Winner: Guillermo Ochoa
Guillermo Ochoa arrived in Brazil as a free agent and with the possibility of staying on the bench, as Miguel Herrera hadn't made up his mind about who would be the starting goalkeeper.
Ultimately the former Ajaccio footballer earned El Piojo's trust and appeared in every game.
His epic performances, especially against Brazil and Netherlands, left no doubt that he can tackle any challenge.
Don't be surprised if Paco Meme arrives at a big club this summer.
Loser: Hector Moreno
Even before the World Cup started, Hector Moreno had locked the starting position. His performances with Espanyol had been one of the strongest any European-based player had through the season.
Moreno had a fantastic performance during the group stage. He recovered 22 balls and had an average pass accuracy of 94 percent, per miseleccion.mx (in Spanish).
According to FIFA.com, the centre-back had covered 32,342 meters before he had to leave the clash vs. Netherlands after a tough tackle. Moreno suffered a fractured tibia and underwent surgery on Tuesday, July 1.
FIFA.com reported that he would miss six months. The timing couldn't be worse as he had been linked to some of Europe's major teams.
Winner: Javier Hernandez
Javier Hernandez not only made the team, he actually played.
Chicharito's lack of playing time with Manchester United caused some concern. He played in five warm-ups but failed to score.
However, Miguel Herrera gave him minutes as a sub and he finally netted against Croatia.
It was his first goal in a year. The last time he scored for El Tri was in 2013, during the Confederations Cup.
Now there's only one doubt and it is if he will continue to play for Manchester United.
If there was a team that suffered with refereeing it was Mexico.
In the opening match the linesman wrongfully disallowed two Giovani dos Santos goals. Against Croatia, the referee didn't call two clear handballs.
Mexico denied a penalty despite a clear handball by Croatia's Srna - https://t.co/OOd3RDW9xV.— World Cup 2014 (@WorldCupPosts) June 23, 2014
The round of 16 was no different. Hector Herrera suffered a kick on the face that the Portuguese ref didn't see.
During stoppage time he called a controversial penalty kick that gave Netherlands the ticket to the quarterfinals.
Winner: Hector Herrera
Hector Herrera proved why he had been in the spotlight when he played for Mexico U23 in 2012, when the team won the gold medal at the Summer Olympics, and he was picked as the best player of the Toulon Tournament.
The Porto midfielder seemed to have lost his touch when Jose Manuel de la Torre capped him for the 2013 Hexagonal and the 2013 Confederations Cup.
However, under Miguel Herrera's (not related) orders he went back to his old self and proved that he can change the pace of a match with just a couple of plays.
He can shoot from outside the box, while his speed and dribbling skills allow him to unbalance the defense easily. No wonder he impressed Rio Ferdinand.
If I'm a manager right now&needed a midfielder who isn't going to cost a bomb Mexico's Herrera would be top of the shopping list! Impressive— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) June 23, 2014
Dutch airline KLM decided to troll the Mexicans through its Twitter account, as soon as the Netherlands beat El Tri in the round of 16. Big mistake, amigos!
The tweet spread like wildfire and thousands of angry users broke against the airline. The community manager obviously deleted it and quickly apologized.
Although the damage was already done, Mexican airline AeroMexico tweeted something in Spanish a lot classier: Thanks for this great tournament, we are proud and we are waiting for you at home.
Winner: Rafael Marquez
We could talk about the last-minute penalty kick against Netherlands, but there is a lot more to say about Rafael Marquez.
Not only did he become the first player to captain his national team in four different World Cups (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014), he also became the second Mexican to score in three different editions of the tournament.
Marquez put the ball away against Croatia with a powerful header. His other two goals came in 2006, vs. Argentina, and in 2010, in front of South Africa.
His fantastic fitness and wide experience helped Mexico to be the team that surprised the world.