6 takeaways as Mexico beat New Zealand
Mexico have their first win of the Confederations Cup. It wasn’t pretty, but El Tri came away with a 2-1 victory over New Zealand to put them even with Portugal on points atop Group A.
1. Javier Aquino
New Zealand will be hoping they never see Aquino again. The winger absolutely torched the Kiwis all match and it finally resulted in a goal when he left his defender in his wake before feeding Oribe Peralta for the winning goal.
There are times that Aquino can lack the final ball or polish, making all his runs come to nothing, but this wasn’t one of those days. He was an absolute monster and could have probably had a couple more assists.
2. Playing without central midfielders
Juan Carlos Osorio clearly thought his team could manhandle New Zealand and sent his team out there to score a goal or 12. He used four defenders (with Diego Reyes as a defensive midfielder), two attacking midfielders, two wingers and two strikers.
As a result, New Zealand were able to find space throughout the center of the field, get to secondary balls and generally take the match to Mexico. The no central midfield experiment was a disaster and, while it did get better in the second half, Osorio should never try this again.
3. Juan Carlos’
El Tri are lucky to have gotten three points and, had they not, Osorio would have been blamed. He often rotates his squad, but carrying over just three players from their match against Portugal was extreme. The manager can’t take all the blame — some players just had poor individual performances — but turning over the team almost entirely was foolish and Mexico’s performance suffered for it.
4. Two ways to look
On one hand, New Zealand were undoubtedly the better side in the first half and could have had a couple goals. They hit the crossbar late and could have managed a draw at least. In this match, no one would say the Kiwis were worse, and that’s a huge accomplishment against a team like Mexico.
On the other hand, El Tri started few first choice players and had a completely unworkable system. It’s highly unlikely that next time they come up against a good team, the manager will send out such a weak and dysfunctional side, so how much can New Zealand really take from this?
5. Carlos Salcedo
Salcedo has had an interesting last 10 days — he was lucky not be sent off against the United States, earned a move to Eintracht Frankfurt, then was beaten badly against Portugal.
There were highs … and lows. But things hit a new low against New Zealand when he went down with a dislocated shoulder. There’s no word on how bad the injury is and when he’ll be healthy again, but odds are that he’s out for the remainder of the tournament. Hopefully he’s fit in time for preseason with Eintracht Frankfurt.
6. Draw and advance
Mexico are on four points now, tied with Portugal atop the group. Russia are a point behind and El Tri play the hosts on Saturday. All they need to do is get a draw and they’re guaranteed a spot in the semifinals.
This wasn’t the prettiest match for Mexico, and they’ll hope to never look like this again, but they got the result they needed and are now pretty heavy favorites to go through.
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