There may have been no goals but there was plenty of drama at Fortaleza. A superbly disciplined and tactically astute Mexico denied hosts Brazil and gave Luiz Felipe Scolari a lot to chew on as he prepares his troops for their final group encounter with Cameroon. His Mexican counterpart Miguel Herrera on the other hand will reflect on a job well done and perhaps feel that El Tri could have even sneaked a win had their shooting been just that little bit more accurate.
1. Mexican tactics spot on:
Mexico’s dismal qualifying campaign seems like a distant memory now as they produced a fantastic performance to hold Brazil. To be fair Mexico have form against Brazil winning seven of their previous 13 internationals as well as beating the Seleção in the Olympic football final in 2012 to win the gold. Interestingly, Neymar, Thiago Silva, Marcelo and Oscar played in that final.
A huge amount of credit has to go to Miguel Herrera for superbly preparing his side for this clash. Not many would have predicted that his Mexican team would draw against Brazil let alone keep a clean sheet. The Mexicans went into the match playing a 5-3-2 and having an extra man at the back proved to be key as Mexico intelligently managed to keep Brazil at bay. Fantastically marshaled by Rafael Márquez, El Tri managed to stifle Brazil’s front four crowding the man on the ball before nipping in to force an error and steal possession. In front of them the midfield trio played smartly as well moving the ball swiftly and countering effectively.
The Mexican’s willingness to take the game to Brazil was hugely important because it prevented the Brazilians from squeezing up the pitch and pinning them down. Indeed Mexico looked dangerous going forward with Oribe Peralta, who scored in the Olympic final, putting in a huge shift up front.
If we’re going to be extremely critical of Mexico then they will be disappointed with their efforts on goal. They had a number of shots but not enough tested Júlio César. Whilst they earned a creditable point El Tri could have walked away with all three.
Mexico was tactically superb and deserve all the plaudits they get for maintaining their discipline and levels of concentration throughout the entire match. It was by no means an easy feat to achieve.
Even when the Brazilian’s created clear chances the Mexican’s had a veritable wall in goal.