Mexico hosted and successfully defeated a defensive Israel side by a score of 3-0. Miguel Layun scores his first two international goals, all but earning a spot on the final roster to board the plane down to Brazil for the World Cup. Javier Hernandez, Oribe Peralta and Andres Guardado were all too quiet as some of the nation’s very best. A legend hung up his boots in international soccer. This win was exactly that but was nowhere near a World Cup performance.
The home side managed to put three past an Israel side that did sit back for the most part, but only one of those goals were put into the back of the net from inside the 18; Marco Fabian sliced a one-timer inside the near post past the diving keeper. He was not covered as tightly as he should have been which is why he had all day to score.
Layun took three shots that truly defined his game tonight. First, he ripped one from distance well over and wide of the frame, which showed sheer desperation for a kid who wants World Cup soccer. After shaking that off, he hit an opening goal that rose high enough to find the netting in the first half before scoring another screamer in the second. These two goals proved two things: he is desperate to score but is also brave enough to shoot from distance. The beauty of his performance is that he is a left back who pushes up constantly and looks to shoot instead of just be another passing option down the flank.
Hernandez, Peralta and Guardado were not there to play a good game in front of their beloved fans. Yes, this was a mere friendly, but they should have tried a bit harder to impress their coach and to give every single fan of Mexican soccer someone to trust and believe in. Maybe they did not care enough, but if their performances do not improve in the remaining friendlies, they will be benched.
Legendary 41-year-old midfielder/striker Cuauhtémoc Blanco was by far the best playmaker in the opening 38 minutes as he made runs, found teammates and even took care of the set-piece plays. He seemed to roll back the years with his energy as he led the team magnificently before stepping off the field at the Azteca. He will be remembered as one of El Tri’s very best in his position.
Next up for Mexico will be friendlies against Ecuador, Bosnia Herzegovina and Portugal before embarking to Brazil. Unlike Israel, all three of those opponents are taking part in the tournament, which means that they will also have things to figure out, as well as a point to prove.