By José Fernandez
Brazil found in Mexico a team that tore away from them the label of favorite to win it all. The Mexican National Team exposed the Brazilian side and set the guidelines that will be very helpful for Germans, Dutch, Italian and Argentinians, who are answering the call to invade the Maracaná. The users guide for Brazil 2014 has been edited by Mexico, it now holds the formula to beat the Brazilians in their own soil, and against their people, a team that a couple weeks ago was favorite to win it all. Whoever kicks off the hosts from their World Cup must thank Mexico for this exhibition. Mexico will not be the Champion at the end of this World Cup but the night of June 17th they did what they came to do in Brazil, leave their mark.
I am trying to decipher the Brazilian side. That even in their stadium, surrounded by their own cheering and frenetic people, they couldn’t defeat a heroic Mexican side. A side that for short periods of time appeared brilliant and, above all, intelligent by the way they read the game. Guillermo Ochoa was the man of the hour and clearly changed the outcome of the game; stopping four goals, two of them on the goal line, he is headlining news around the world. But his performance should not overshadow what happened on the pitch, a place where Mexico was superior during various periods of game and in different zones of the field.
Brazil was stripped of the ball in their home, their World Cup. Not only that, but they were bullied around by a competitive squad, that replicated in a brave manner Scolari’s method against himself. While this isn’t deserving of a medal or any honors we can say that Mexico toyed, in a loyal and honorable fashion, with Brazil. They showed character, and couldn’t be tamed.
The work ethic shown by Giovani Dos Santos, Andres Guardado, Hector Herrera and a sensational showing from José “El Gallito” Vazquez generated danger, pinning Brazil against their own net, making them work to way out of their half of the pitch. Following these efforts we also have honorable mentions for Miguel Layun, Paul Aguilar, and the usual suspects, Maza Rodriguez, Marquez, and Hector Moreno that played a tidy and compact game.
The game that Miguel Herrera set out to play was made clear when Neymar was fouled twice in the first minute of play, they closed in on Brazil’s only chance of winning the game. Ramires and Oscar where locked down, they forced Scolari to dig into his bench for a solution. But Berdnard, Jo, or Willian could ease the swarm of Mexican players that surrounded Neymar, which regardless of this, was still Brazil’s best player.
The zero-zero tie in Fortaleza in a group stage game raises the alarm for a troubling journey for the Brazilian side. Mexico patented the formula for the rest.
From the author: Jose Fernandez is a Mexican columnist for AS newspaper