Bosnia defeated Mexico 1-0 in Chicago thanks to a first half strike from Galatasaray winger Izzet Hajrovic. The nation that will be making their first ever appearance in the World Cup this summer could have been up by as many as three or four, as Mexico were dominated in the first half. The losing side suffered their first defeat after an eight-game winning streak.
The Bosnians did not pressure Mexico as much as they were able to against the Ivory Coast last week, as the North American side possessed more energy and a hunger to drive up the field on every occasion possible. They were able to dictate play in the first half, as they practically lived in the middle of the field, as well as taking dips in and out of the final third. They had a stronger and smarter game plan, which is why they were able to find the goal that would eventually win the game.
Mexico played a 5-3-2 with their wingbacks constantly pushing up to join the attack. The problem with this was that when they lost the ball, they were left vulnerable on defense. They took out Javier Hernandez, who is quite talented in the air, but the Bosnians were taller and stronger, which is why he did not have a clear-cut aerial look on frame.
In addition, they played too much possession that led the ball to the wings so they could try and draw more defenders and midfielders out there. Once that happened, they sent the ball towards the top of the 18, looking for long-distance shots on frame. This would have worked better if Asmir Begovic did not read their shots time and time again.
Mexico is talented, but the team needs to field their best lineup from the beginning. A formation switch to a 4-3-3 would work better, as they are truly attack-minded, and wing play works better within that system. Therefore, playing for a draw or possessing the ball with five guys in their back line is no longer the best of ideas.
Bosnia is in a group with Argentina, Nigeria and Iran, which means that their best chance on paper is finishing in second behind Argentina. If they do so, it will be a brilliant success, as this is their first appearance. Their country and players need this, as they have worked hard and waited for this for a very long time.
Mexico play Brazil, Croatia and Cameroon, which are all sides that could defeat them. They will have to brave offensively, smart defensively, and cannot let their emotions get the best of them. They have talent, they just need to believe in themselves to make things happen.