BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil — Mexican striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernández led El Tricolor to a 2-1 over Japan, but the Mexican contingent still bids farewell to the Confederations Cup in Brazil with its only victory.
Hernández managed to score in the 53rd and 65th minutes in last Saturday’s (June 22) match and Japan at least avoided being blanked on a tally in the 85th minute by Shinji Okazaki.
El Tri had gone down to defeat in its earlier matches, a 2-1 Group A win against Italy, but then lost 2-0 to host Brazil. Japan had been defeated by Italy 4-3 and to Brazil, 3-0.
Against the Brazilians, México, under the direction of head coach José Manuel “Chepo” De La Torre, lacked the fighting spirit of its first game against Italy.
Disorganized and well contained by the host team’s competent midfield, El Tri was unable to break through with a surprise counterattack, usually the México’s best weapon.
In a match where Hernández was scarcely seen, the Mexican team left with a bitter taste and never gave the feeling it could even manage a tie.
De La Torre commented after the win against Japan, saying “I think Japan is a very disciplined team with very talented players, and to hold them wasn’t easy.”
On Hernández’s play, he said “Javier has always been a very insistent player, very competitive on the field, finds plays, has a grand dynamic. I think this is why it’s taken to places like Manchester United and to his goals with the Mexican national teasm.”
De La Torre is looking ahead to the Gold Cup, which for México, begins on July 7 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
“We can now turn the page on the Confederation’s Cup, but we would have liked to stay here in Brazil, but we have the Gold Cup,” said De La Torre.
“Our objective at the Gold Cup is win it.”The México-Japan was played not far removed from the wave of protests sweeping Brazil. Some 15,000 protesters attempted to approach Mineirao stadium while the game was under way, but were prevented from doing so by police.Inside the stadium could be heard the constant chant from outside Brasil acordou (Brazil has awakened), a slogan which has gained strength during the demonstrations that began two weeks ago in Sao Paulo over an increase in bus fares but then spread nationwide as other social demands were added, evidence of widespread social discontent.