Mexico’s first two matches in the 2018 FIFA World Cup could not have gone any better. They entered Wednesday’s match against Sweden with six points, on top of the group. Moreover, a draw was enough for Mexico to advance, which looked very likely to happen with how Juan Carlos Osorio and his team had been playing.
The first half was ball dominant by El Tri, dictating the pace of the game. Sweden had some chances, especially on set pieces, but nothing transpired. Despite a few chances, Mexico was unable to generate anything and both sides went into the locker rooms at half, 0-0.
The second half for El Tricolor was, in short, horrible. A bizarre goal scored by Sweden in the 50th minute sent discomfort in the minds of all Mexico fans. A strange deflection landed to Ludwig Augustinsson who put the ball in the back of the net.
Twelve minutes after giving up the first goal, Héctor Moreno made a sliding challenge which gave Sweden a penalty. On top of the penalty, Héctor will be out next match with yellow card accumulation.
After 90 minutes, Mexico lost the game, 0-3, but not all was hopeless. Although a single goal from Germany would’ve knocked the Mexicans out, South Korea managed two stoppage time goals to send Mexico through to the round of 16 in second place.
Mexico’s next challenge is a familiar foe in Brazil. On Monday, July 2, they will need to play another perfect game against the 5-time World Cup Champions, but there’s a chance Mexico can do it. One of the small positives of the 0-3 loss to Sweden was that it truly was a mental breakdown, however, that’s the breakdown we’ve seen in the round of 16 for many tournaments.
Juan Carlos Osorio knew that there was a good chance Mexico could play Brazil dating back to the group draw. If Osorio has studied Brazil closely, as he did Germany, El Tri might have a decent gameplan with all the mental aspects out of the way. In addition, Mexico has four full days of rest and planning.
It will not be easy, especially with the fact Brazil has looked outstanding in their final match against Serbia. Yet, if El Tri knows any team in the tournament well, it is the Brazilians.