After a long and painful qualifying campaign, Mexico are pretty much in the World Cup thanks to a 5-1 win over New Zealand in the first leg of the inter continental playoff, as Miguel Herrera making his debut in the coaching position getting an excellent performance from his locals-only squad, and goals from Paul Aguilar, Raul Jimenez, Oribe Peralta (twice) and Rafael Marquez.
The talk of luck disappeared for once after a disastrous qualifying campaign which saw Mexico averaging 0.6 goals per game during his matches in the Azteca. New Zealand, a weakened side compared to the one that managed three draws in the previous World Cup, were no match for the Mexican attack, as their defense completely fell apart at every set piece or cross to the box.
If it wasn’t for Glen Moss making some acrobatic saves, it wouldn’t have been much worse for the Kiwis, who don’t really have a chance to do something in the second leg a week from now; not when they have too many amateurs and semi professionals in their squad. Mexico might not have been using their best squad, but the change at the head coach position and tactics, with Herrera using the 3-5-2 full court press that has been so successful for him at league level to close out the match before the half time whistle.
The question now isn’t whether Mexico start calling their European players for the second; there’s no real use. The question is how do they approach the World Cup, as it’s clear that what we saw from them during the qualifying group is very different from the team that will show up in Brazil unless something sensational happens on the other side of the Pacific.
Even though Chicharito, Giovani Dos Santos and Carlos Vela have a place in this team in terms of talent, maybe El Tri are better off staying away from these ego battles and having a coach who relies and believes in local talent, and seems to have the players responding better to him than the two that came before him. However, it was only New Zealand, which apparently, are the greatest indication to a strength of a side and their readiness for the World Cup.