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Luis 'El Matador' Hernandez Talks About the Importance of Mexico vs. Netherlands

Karla Villegas Gama@karlitsvFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2014

Mexico's Luis Hernandez celebrates Mexico's second goal, which he scored, against South Korea in their Group E, World Cup 98, soccer match at Gerland stadium in Lyon, Saturday, June 13 1998.  (AP Photo/Denis Dpyle)
DENIS DOYLE/Associated Press

Mexico are set to face Netherlands on November 12 in Amsterdam. It's the first meeting for these teams since the Oranje defeated El Tri in the 2014 World Cup round of 16.

Former Mexico international Luis "El Matador" HernandezΒ wore La Verde for seven years, scoring 35 goals in 85 appearances.

He is Mexico's all-time leading scorer in World Cups, as he put the ball away four times in France 1998, against South Korea (twice), Netherlands and Germany.

Currently working as an analyst on La Ultima Palabra on FOX Deportes, he spoke exclusively with Bleacher Report about the importance of Mexico's upcoming friendly versus Netherlands.Β 

Bleacher Report: Can you share your thoughts on Mexico's match vs. the Netherlands?

Luis Hernandez: It's going to be a good warm-up. Netherlands is a very powerful squad. These are the kind of games Mexico should pursue, because they teach the team many things.

B/R: Carlos Vela's call-up has brought a lot of attention; what do you think about that?

LH: I don't like it. I think that a player who said no to the national team, who has only made a difference with the U17 squad and who hasn't won anything with the senior team is not a good example for the team.

B/R: Do you believe this could stir up things in the locker room?

LH: Not really. Although there are probably some footballers who may not be very pleased with the situation, but they are professionals and they will respect Miguel Herrera's decision. I'm sure this situation has been already solved.

B/R: Will we see a different side of Mexico now that Vela is on the team?

LH: No. We won't see any difference. El Tri have a defined style under Herrera, so there shouldn't be a high expectation around him.Β 

B/R: Do you think Herrera should try another formation for this game?

LH: Not at all. Mexico have played very good with his 5-3-2 system. We'll see the European-based footballers in the first half taking over the positions where the players from the Liga MX had appeared, but other than that, I don't see how it could be different.Β 

B/R: Talk about the importance of this game.

LH: It's a key game. We won't get to see all the European-based players together again until next year. It's Herrera's chance to see how they work as a team, since Mexico have two important tournaments in 2015.

B/R: Should Alfredo Talavera get a chance to start?

LH: He's a great goalkeeper, but he will come on in the second half. Guillermo Ochoa has had Herrera's trust since this year's World Cup, and it is very important that the coach keeps confiding in him, especially because he is not playing in Malaga, but he is delivering results with El Tri.

B/R: Which players will be key to secure a good result?

LH: I think Giovani dos Santos, Javier Hernandez, Andres Guardado and Hector Herrera. These four players have had good performances with their teams, especially Herrera who is making a great impact with Porto.

B/R: Speaking of Hernandez, what does it mean for Mexico that he is getting playing time with Real Madrid?

LH: It's very important. As long as he keeps the momentum going and making the most out of the minutes he is on the pitch, he will get more trust from Carlo Ancelotti. This will definitively give him rhythm, which will show with El Tri.

B/R: You're talking about the European-based footballers' rhythm; do you think the players from the Liga MX can keep up?

LH: I think they can help those who play abroad, but Herrera will try the European-based footballers first and he will try those in the local league in the second half.

B/R: The defense has been shaky after the World Cup, what is missing?

L/H: Herrera is missing continuity. He has to start playing with those who are stronger and stop experimenting.