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Mexico's Struggles Continue Ahead of World Cup as Denmark Win 2018 Friendly 2-0

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IJune 9, 2018

BRONDBY, DENMARK - JUNE 09:  Yussuf Poulsen of Denmark celebrates with teammates after scoring the first goal of his team during International Friendly match between Denmark v Mexico at Brondby Stadion on June 9, 2018 in Brondby, Denmark.  (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Denmark beat Mexico 2-0 in Brondby on Saturday in both teams' final international friendly before the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The hosts went ahead in the second half through a brilliant long-range strike from Yussuf Poulsen. Christian Eriksen then added a second three minutes later to complete the scoring.

   

Eriksen is a Dark Horse for Player of the World Cup

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Eriksen is Denmark's biggest star, and he showed he's in good form ahead of the World Cup.

Eriksen helped set up Denmark's first goal and then sealed the win after latching onto a through ball and firing past Ochoa.

The goals were exactly what Denmark needed after managing just one in their last three matches against Sweden, Chile and Panama.

Eriksen is coming into the World Cup off the back of another impressive season with Spurs. His vision, range of passing and ability to score goals means he has everything needed to light up the World Cup.

Colombia's James Rodriguez was the surprise winner of the Golden Boot at the 2014 World Cup as he scored six goals in five matches.

Eriksen will hope he can have a similar impact with Denmark who have been drawn in Group C along with France, Australia and Peru.

        

Mexico's Struggles Will Leak into World Cup

Mexico have had an interesting week as they prepared for the World Cup. The team had a farewell party on Saturday which included "around 30 prostitutes," according to TVNotas (h/t Agence France-Presse, via World Soccer Talk).

Tom Marshall at ESPN FC said the team needed a confidence boost against Denmark:

Tom Marshall @mexicoworldcup

Big game this for Mexico. A good performance here would bring a confidence boost after a difficult week with stories about the now infamous party in Mexico City. Lots of El Tri fans here. Surprised that the stadium is not full though. #eltrieng 🇲🇽🇩🇰 https://t.co/mMnjSwQS4L

Yet it was not forthcoming as Mexico were fairly comfortably beaten. The visitors had some bright moments but defensive lapses cost them, and they struggled to work Kasper Schmeichel in the Denmark goal.

Freelance journalist Cesar Hernandez summed up the display:

Cesar Hernandez @cesarhfutbol

FT Denmark 2-0 Mexico Really disappointing 2nd half there from #ElTriEng, especially when you consider that more starters were involved. Attack couldn't do much and someone like Gallardo was once again a liability in defense. Silver-lining: Looks like there were no injuries.

Mexico open their World Cup campaign against defending champions Germany and will need a big improvement on this showing if they are to get anything out of that match.

Eriksen Must Shoulder Denmark's Hopes

Denmark qualified for the World Cup with victory over Republic of Ireland in the play-offs after finishing second in their group behind Poland.

Not too much will be expected from Age Hareide's side but they do have a chance of making it to the knockout stages.

While France look the strongest team in Group, Denmark will feel they have enough to finish as runners-up, particularly if Eriksen can find his best form in Russia.

Squawka Football showed his recent international record:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Christian Eriksen has been directly involved in 12 of Denmark's last 18 goals: 🅰️🅰️✖️⚽️✖️⚽️✖️🅰️⚽️⚽️✖️⚽️⚽️⚽️✖️✖️🅰️⚽️ Define: talisman. https://t.co/atO3o2qt4E

The Spurs star is crucial to their hopes of success due to his ability to create and score goals. Eriksen managed 14 goals and 11 assists for Spurs last season and will carry Denmark's hopes in Russia.

    

Corona The Only Bright Spot For Mexico

Mexico's best player on the night was winger Jesus Corona who caused Denmark problems with his pace and trickery down the right flank.

Corona, known as Tecatito, did enough to impress Marshall:

Tom Marshall @mexicoworldcup

Andres Guardado down now. Break in play. Impressed so far with Gallardo. Gio needs to get on the ball more. Tecatito looks really keen to impress (and is impressing). Moreno rusty but growing into game. #eltrieng

The 25-year-old has endured a tough year as he missed the 2017 Confederations Cup and later confirmed it was because his wife had suffered a miscarriage, per ESPN FC.

Injuries have also disrupted his season, but he showed against Denmark he is fit and firing and was their most threatening player.

Corona was willing to run at the Denmark defence and take players on, and all of Mexico's best moments came from the Porto winger.