SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 29: Fans of Mexico hold a sign that reads in Spanish "I love Little Pea" in reference to Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez prior to the game against Venezuela at Qualcomm Stadium on March 29, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored a hat-trick in Mexico’s 5-0 victory over El Salvador on Sunday in the Gold Cup.
Once again, the Manchester United man stole the headlines for the national team as his stock around the globe continues to rise. Hernandez has now scored 17 goals in 24 games for the Mexican national team.
The striker netted his first goal in the 59th minute. Chicharito rose and headed a left wing cross down into the ground and past the sprawling goalkeeper.
Hernandez’ second was like an action replay of so many of his goals this season for Manchester United. The 23-year-old ran onto a chipped ball over the top from Mexican midfielder Andres Guardado and although there was couple of meters to work with, Hernandez managed to steer the ball off the far post and into the net.
Hernandez won and scored the penalty to complete his hattrick in injury time. The penalty summed up the confidence that Chicharito is playing with at the moment. The Guadalajara native nonchalantly strolled up to take the penalty before wrongfooting the goalkeeper and cheekily chipping the ball into the opposite corner.
Efrain Juarez broke the deadlock for Mexico with a slice of luck when the ball bounced off the goalkeeper, off the Celtic man's face and into the goal.
Aldo de Nigris increased the lead just minutes later with his first touch after coming on as substitute.
It wasn’t all easy going for Mexico and Chicharito though. The game was a draw at halftime with El Salvador doling out some rough physical treatment. Chicharito was given little chance to shine in the first half and was unfairly booked for pushing and shoving.
In the 48th minute, Chicharito had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock but struck the ball at the Salvadoran goalkeeper when he was through on goal.
The game was played in front of 80,000 fans in Cowboys Stadium, Texas and was coach Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre's first competitive game in charge.
At times in the second half, Mexico reached a level of performance not seen since the team's 5-0 victory over the United States in the last final of the Gold Cup.