Two fast objectives to start out the second half ignited the hope of tens of millions of Mexicans who had already discounted their workforce from the 2022 World Cup. A poacher purpose by Henry Martin within the forty seventh minute adopted by a surprise free kick strike by Luis Chávez simply 5 minutes later had the complete nation instantly satisfied they might do the unthinkable and meet France within the Spherical of 16 with only one extra purpose wanted to clinch stated spot.
It was a breath of contemporary air after two almost unwatchable offensive performances and a primary half immediately crammed with inaccuracy, dangerous execution, and general dangerous choices with the ball. A typical development to say the least from this Mexican facet. However that begin to the second 45 minutes crammed followers, gamers, and Martino himself with one final vitality hit to go for all of it within the time remaining. I severely can’t keep in mind seeing Martino fired up like he was after the second purpose. It was nice to see, that’s for certain. Sadly, it didn’t go Mexico’s means.
Mexico owned this match from the beginning. Now sure, we anticipated the Saudis to sit down again and anticipate El Tri to assault, however by no means on this dominating style. Luis Chávez performed one of the best sport of his profession, being on level with passes, driving the ball down the center himself, and with high quality lengthy distance makes an attempt on purpose. What a efficiency. Within the first half, Mexico threatened with countless crosses and play buildups from the flanks, and appeared spectacular in all of it main as much as that remaining contact / shot / determination with the ball, and that’s the place their performs fell aside. They only couldn’t appear to get adequate contact to essentially check keeper Al-Owais.
However for the primary ten minutes of the second half, it was all of the opposite. The 2 objectives got here in what appeared like a heartbeat, adopted by a 3rd, solely to be disallowed because of a slight inclination in Henry Martin’s physique, barely putting him offside. Really a sport of inches. That Lozano purpose would’ve momentarily positioned Mexico forward of Poland for 2nd within the group. It will’ve modified EVERYTHING. As a substitute, Mexico had been nonetheless trying to find a purpose.
I appreciated the very fact Lozano remained closely concerned in play creation all through and appeared extraordinarily menacing. Martin was additionally a constructive from immediately regardless of him having the clearest likelihood to attain Mexico’s third within the seventieth minute, when he was left alone within the field off a backward header simply to the left of the penalty spot, and mistimed his try, sending it excessive over the crossbar. If he goals that towards purpose, it’s in. The keeper would’ve had no likelihood to react, irrespective of the place he put it.
Alexis Vega may’ve performed extra with an opportunity within the first half and appeared considerably disconnected within the match for some cause. Virtually as if he wasn’t on the identical web page as everybody else, and was subbed off on the half in favor of Antuna, who appeared simply as dangerous. In the meantime, Orbelín Pineda appeared slightly rusty from all his time spent driving the bench in current weeks, however nonetheless managed to make an impression. He additionally missed an excellent look from simply outdoors the penalty space, with a shot on the bottom that went simply extensive. You’ve gotta be capable of put these heading in the right direction on the very least.
In the long run, Mexico had 61% ball possession, 26 whole pictures, solely 11 of which had been heading in the right direction, and received 8 corners within the match. Saudi Arabia had 10 makes an attempt, however solely 2 on purpose. Simply goes to indicate how little Mexico had been capable of mirror their overwhelming dominance on the scoreboard.
I’ve to tip my hat to the backline, who stopped almost each Saudi counter try there was. Sliding tackles, well-timed steals and shut outs. Renard’s facet weren’t allowed to play their sport, in contrast to they did within the earlier two matches. Powerful to play a match as close to good as Mexico’s backline and DMs did immediately. They made the Saudis look innocent.
I didn’t perceive Martino’s 77th minute transfer, pulling Henry Martin for Raúl Jiménez. Why not Funes Mori? Mexico had been full on attacking, sending in crosses, and the sport simply appeared completely fitted to Funes Mori, who capitalizes massively on that fashion of play. He’s a pure purpose scorer and thrives in these conditions when he’s continuously fed the ball close to or insdie the realm. Jiménez, as anticipated, was unable to make any imprint (once more), and the Rayados’ striker was lastly introduced on within the 86th minute with little time to show himself. Oh properly.
With the Poland-Argentina match ending an excellent ten minutes previous to Mexico’s, El Tri knew they wanted another purpose and will even give themselves the posh of permitting the Saudis to attain as soon as and never altering something. For some cause, many didn’t know this, together with announcers and even Mexico gamers, because it appeared ‘Tata’ signalled to them they nonetheless needed to go for only one. How that wasn’t communicated prior is unjustifiable. Mexico did not method Al-Owais’s purpose with any kind of hazard within the remaining quarter-hour of motion, as they had been clearly fatigued from their super effort and sacrifice.
With each group matches gone remaining, Argentina completed 1st (as anticipated) with 6 factors and can face Australia within the Spherical of 16. In the meantime, Poland locked up that two spot (as anticipated), and now face the daunting process of going up towards the present world champs and ever difficult France, in a match the place the Polish might be huge underdogs.
Group C saved us on the sting of our seats! #ARG and #POL are heading to the final 16.— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 30, 2022
So, it’s the tip of the highway for Mexico within the 2022 World Cup. And what a brief trip it was, as El Tri’s 7-consecutive Spherical of 16 appearances has additionally come to an finish. ‘Tata’ Martino seems to have coached his final sport for Mexico and there are numerous damaged items left to be picked up. Who would be the subsequent head coach? What gamers will make up the 2026 World Cup squad? Will they be any higher than this workforce? On and on.
And whereas it’s unhappy they’ve been eradicated, possibly that is the wake-up name the FMF wanted, as massive change is required if they’re to proper this ship. Will Yon de Luisa do what’s required? Will they discover a approach to give Mexican gamers a greater alternative in Liga MX, the best way they used to again within the 2000s and prior? This could possibly be the defining second for considered one of two issues: 1) the beginning of a decline and darkish age in Mexican soccer; 2) the start of a brand new course of and with it, out with the dangerous practices which have led up to now. Hopefully it’s the latter, however solely time will inform, as we stand 43 months out.