Mexico ensured that it would not be shut out of points in this edition of the FIFA Confederations Cup as it beat Japan 2-1 with both goals being scored by Javier Hernandez.
Mexico made several changes to the team that showed improvement in a 2-0 loss against Brazil in it’s previous game with the two most notable being Guillermo Ochoa playing in goal and Raul Jimenez partnering with Hernandez up front. Despite the changes, early on Mexico showed the same issues that have been a problem as of late, the opposition showed better attacking play and offensive creativity while Mexico were void of either.
Things began to change around the 30th minute of play as Mexico would shed it’s timidness and begin to show the first creative and attacking quality play from the team during the tournament. Giovani Dos Santos, who was by far Mexico’s best player in the tournament made quality runs that began to trouble the Japanese defense. Mexico were almost rewarded with a goal four minutes before half as an Andres Guardado header hit the post.
Mexico carried over their fine play to close out the first half into the start of the second half and finally broke through as Guardado would send a perfectly hit cross pass that Hernandez would head into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead. Hernandez would then again score off a corner which Hiram Mier, who was exceptional as the right back, would flick a Dos Santos corner to Hernandez to head in for the 2-0 lead.
Japan would pull one back and Hernandez failed to convert a late penalty, but in the end, Mexico was rewarded for their play in this game and ensured they would not leave the Confederations Cup empty handed.
This game will be used by Mexico as the game that rediscovers the form they had in the past few years. Up until this game, Mexico had struggled in 2013 to effectively create any scoring chances and show offensive creativity. Against Japan, after a slow start, the team was able to display that it was capable of doing so while seemingly finding the starting eleven to use when World Cup Qualifying returns in September.
In addition to re-discovering it’s game, Mexico coach Jose Manuel De La Torre will gain some breathing space from the Mexican media and fans who were growing more and more restless at the display of his team and of his stubbornness in making the necessary adjustments to be more adventurous in attack.